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Farmers Asked to Weigh in on the Status of Washington Agriculture

PUYALLUP, Wash. — Washington state farmers are being asked to share their views on current farm policies, farm production and marketing practices.

In a joint effort of Washington State University and the University of Washington, a first-of-its-kind survey was mailed today (April 1) to nearly 4,000 randomly selected agricultural producers across the state. According to WSU Cooperative Extension’s Marcy Ostrom, the survey is an opportunity for farmers to weigh in on a variety of issues affecting their lives and livelihoods.

“This has never been done before, and it’s a chance to provide farmers with a widely representative voice on critical issues such as land stewardship, land use, biotechnology and agricultural marketing,” Ostrom said. “No one likes more paperwork, but we hope the farmers who receive the survey will take the time to fill it out and mail it in. The broader the response, the more accurate and realistic the picture we’ll have of what needs to be done to improve farm profitability, land stewardship and farm marketing systems in Washington.”

Survey findings will be used to inform policy makers, universities, government agencies and the general public about the issues facing the state’s leading industry, agriculture. It will help WSU research and extension programs identify the information and education needs of agricultural producers.

“The results will be used to guide efforts both statewide and within local communities to strengthen the long-term viability of our food and farming systems,” Ostrom said.

This joint WSU/UW survey is part of a larger three-year research project coordinated through the WSU Small Farms Program and Department of Rural Sociology. The project is funded through the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Washington State Farming and the Environment Project. The next phase of the study will involve research with consumers, retailers, and distributors on ways to strengthen purchasing of locally grown farm products.

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