“From the President”
(Ryan Ells, LCFB Board Member, President)
As Summer fades into Autumn and Lewis County Farm Bureau (LCFB) heads towards the end of our 12 month cycle, I am reminded of all the amazing things that I am thankful for that I can attribute to LCFB and some of our organization's accomplishments this year:
1-We had a very successful booth at the Southwest Washington Fair that won second prize in our division. We provided information and member support to our members and, on the other end of the spectrum, youth who have no exposure to agriculture enjoyed the educational items we provided.
2-Our Policy Chair. Vice President Ryan Thode, stood up for the rights of livestock producers and all who use modern pickup trucks to pull trailers. He brought to attention issues with Gross Vehicle Weight ratings and helped craft policy that was added to Washington Farm Bureau State Policy.
3-Board Member, Maureen Harkcom headed up a very successful "2019 Lewis County Tour of Agriculture" that included several legislators this year, giving them "first hand exposure. It is very important to reach out to those that make huge impacts on us in agriculture and we are happy they participated. We have had participants and others, show strong interest in next year’s tour.
And, at our Annual Lewis County Farm Bureau Membership Meeting/Banquet we will be hosting Representative Jim Walsh from the 19th District to speak about the "State of the Wolf" in Washington State. I invite you and strongly encourage you to attend our Annual Meeting on October 16th, 2019.
When you look at the wolf, you start to understand the symbolism it has in relation to our regional governmental structure. If you step back into the mid 1840's in this region, the story of our statehood starts to unfold even though it was referred to as the Oregon Territory in that time. People were self reliant and followed God’s Law or Law of Nature depending the dispute. But, as the timeline progressed with this new country some form of government had to evolve. What triggered it? One of the first pushes to form government was the case of a mountain man turned successful cattle rancher who died without leaving a will that only was satisfied with a probate court being born even with no formal government in the territory. The "Wolf Meetings of 1843" solidified a governmental structure based on "Natural Law" similar to what was adopted earlier in the state/territory of Iowa. And out of this came a taxing structure to pay for the bounties put on predators to keep livestock and citizens safe in this new land.
So, have we come full circle with this story of the Wolf and our government?
I welcome you to read this issue of the LCFB Newsletter and find out more about what your Farm Bureau is doing for the community. Attend our Annual Membership Meeting/Banquet and vote for three Board of Director positions, President, Vice President and State Board representative. You may pay at the door, but you need to RSVP by October 9 to treasurer, Martha Thode:
RSVP to: Martha.email@example.com 360-985-2347 home 360-508-3138 cell
2019 LCFB Annual Membership Meeting/Banquet Speaker
Representative Jim Walsh, District 19, resides in Aberdeen. Jim’s legislative priorities are creating family-wage jobs, adequately funding schools and protecting taxpayers, property rights and gun rights. He wants to diversify the economies of his coastal communities and bring new opportunities to his constituents. Jim believes an effective local school system is vital to ensure a full economic recovery.
Jim is committed to bipartisanship and finding common-sense solutions in the legislature. He is the ranking member for the House State Government and Tribal Relations Committee and serves as the assistant ranking member for the House Transportation Committee. He also sits on the House Capital Budget and Rural Development, Agriculture and Natural Resources committees.
Representative Walsh is going to speak to us on the “the State of the Wolf” in Washington.
Southwest Washington Fair Junior Livestock Sale
(Maureen Harkcom, LCFB Board Member, JLA Authorized Bidder)
In our third year of supporting youth at SWWF Junior Livestock Auction we purchased animals of sisters Sophia and Olivia Wiley of Centralia, both members of Napavine Go-Getters 4-H Club. We paid $7 per pound for Sophia’s 136 pound lamb “Gus” and $8.50 for Olivia’s 134 pound lamb “Pearl”. The girls do a nice job with their lambs and are personable and knowledgeable about their lambs when approached in the barn. They are active in projects and activities through 4-H and school.
WASHINGTON FARM BUREAU ANNUAL MEETING
November 12-13, Wenatchee, WA
Our annual meeting will cover two days and include a variety of featured speakers and educational break-out sessions in addition to the official business sessions. Lewis County is allowed 15 delegates and at this point we have openings for delegates to represent us. If you are interested in becoming involved in the grass-roots, from-the-ground-up policy making of WFB, please get in touch with Maureen Harkcom or President Ryan Ells as soon as possible. LCFB pays the registration fee (including meeting meals) and reimburses hotel accommodations and round trip mileage for our voting delegates and alternates. You need to be a voting member (or household family member of) to represent the county as a voting delegate.
2019 Scholarships Winners
(Maureen Harkcom, LCFB Board Member, Scholarship Chair)
Our committee went through fourteen applications this year, and with approval from the board to grant a third scholarship, we selected three outstanding young men.
$1500 has been awarded to Trace Bybee, a graduate of Toledo High School and Running Start with a 3.8 gpa. He was a member of National Honor Society and participated in football and track. Trace will continue at Centralia College one more year and then transfer to a 4-year university to pursue a degree in Aviation and complete his ROTC training before joining the Air Force to train as a pilot. His long term plan includes becoming a commercial pilot after retiring from the Air Force.
Trace is forward-thinking with his daughter, Everly, always at the forefront of his plans.
Brian Wood also received $1500 after graduating from Toledo High School and Running Start with a 3.8 gpa. He participated in basketball and soccer. Brian is a LCFB member as well as a Grange member and is active in his church and volunteering. Brian plans to continue at Centralia College and then transfer to a 4-year university to earn a degree in nursing. His two older brothers also received LCFB scholarships in past years and are both pursing medical careers.
Our third scholarship of $500 was granted to Carson Cox, a graduate of PeEll High School. He participated in football, basketball and baseball and is described as diligent, hard-working and fascinated to learn more. He is a 4-H member. Carson is heading to Northwest Lineman College in Idaho to prepare for a career as a lineman. He feels this career is a good fit as he likes to be active and outdoors.
LCFB congratulates these three young men and wishes them success.
Fresh From the Farm Guide (FFFG)
We again produced 10,000 copies of the FFFG. This year we also added placemats and distributed them to local restaurants free of charge. This was our third year of producing the FFFG as a service to Lewis County Farmers/Ranchers and to consumers looking to buy directly from local producers.
Reinvigoration of Grain Growing in Local Area
(Mike Peroni, LCFB Member)
The seeds of this project were planted in March of 2018 when local farmer, Dave Fenn (LCFB Board Member), organized a meeting of regional producers and others, including the Port of Chehalis, at Valley Agronomics and introduced the idea of seeking funding for the construction of a segregated grain storage and transload facility to provide access to the grain (including malting barley) market for regional producers. These farmers are the driving force behind efforts to construct the facility on Port of Chehalis property, and the project has gained the support of regional public and private entities.
Though the facility construction was not funded during last year’s capital budget cycle, the group continues to make headway and will be signing grower agreements shortly. For now, the grains will be transferred into railcars with a portable grain belt and utilize a rail spur installed on Port property using Lewis County Distressed County Funds.
The group has completed a feasibility study, generated financial projections, contacted potential operating partners, and is in the process of completing a comprehensive site plan and forming a formal organization to manage the project. This season’s production will help build a relationship with Great Western as the group moves forward with the project and increases production acreage. The ultimate goal is to construct a facility for Chehalis and Cowlitz Basin producers, that is capable of providing access to the grain market, insulating producers from the volatility of the commodities market, and benefitting Chehalis and Cowlitz Basin dairies, livestock producers, and others.
A group of regional grain growers are planning for the production of malting barley in the Chehalis Basin for the 2020 season. Five growers representing 225 acres of production will be planting ‘Thunder’ malting barley, a recent release from OSU, in late September for sale to Great Western Malting in Vancouver Washington.
If you have any questions, or are interested in growing malting barley, please contact:
Project Manager, Northwest Agriculture3 Business Center
The three following articles provided by Brian Thompson, LCFB member, Chairman of Lewis County Voluntary Stewardship Program, LCFB representative to the Chehalis Basin Partnership, Member of the Lewis County Weed Board.
Voluntary Stewardship Program
Several years ago, the Washington Farm Bureau, frustrated with the ever increasing regulations affecting farming operations in the state, began working with the legislature to come up with the means to get some regulatory certainty for the agricultural community in dealing with critical areas on farmland. Critical areas are things like wetlands, unstable slopes, significant aquifer recharge areas, and critical habitat.
The result of these efforts has been development of the Voluntary Stewardship Program, or VSP. Basically this program says that a county that has developed a VSP plan and can show that it has improved or maintained a level of protection for critical areas on its farmland, is exempt from further regulation by the Department of Ecology.
This program is administered through, and records are maintained by, the Lewis Conservation District.
Chehalis Basin Partnership
This group was first organized in the late 1980s as part of the Statewide review of the various watersheds of the State (known as WRIAs). The idea was to develop general management plans for the various watersheds. Your Farm Bureau realized that management plans for the Chehalis would invariably affect farmers in the watershed.
The makeup of the Partnership includes State agencies, municipalities, tribes, environmental groups, and county representation. The current emphasis of the Partnership is maintaining and improving stream flow in the Chehalis River. LCFB maintains an active membership to be sure that the interests and concerns of the agricultural community are represented and defended.
Lewis County Weed Board
This agency monitors and attempts to minimize the amount of noxious weeds occurring in the county. Recently, the funding source for the weed board has stabilized with the Lewis County Commission authorizing an assessment from all county taxpayers. Hopefully this will allow more timely and effective control activities to stop or slow the spread of some of our more serious weed threats. Examples are knotweed along our waterways, things like poison hemlock, and of course, our old nemesis, tansy ragwort.
Lewis Conservation District’s Role in the Voluntary Stewardship Program
(Bob Amrine, Lewis Conservation District Director)
The Lewis Conservation District (LCD) has been contracted by Lewis County to implement the approved Voluntary Stewardship Program (VSP) work plan. The LCD works with Lewis County and the VSP Work Group to keep them informed of the progress and to receive guidance.
The LCD sends out mailings to all agriculture producers in an area and follows up with site visits to discuss the VSP with the landowners. The parcels are researched to see if any of the five critical areas exist on the property. If any of the critical areas exit on the parcel, the area is discussed to see if it is being degraded or protected. The baseline the LCD is using for critical area changes is July of 2011. Any enhancements or degradation is documented and entered into a database to accumulate the data for reporting and to document the land use effects to the critical areas. Best Management Practices are given to the landowners who request them to protect and/or enhance the critical areas. This is accomplished by developing an individual Stewardship Plan for the landowner. The LCD is also promoting the economic viability of agriculture in Lewis County during the process. Participation in VSP is voluntary for agriculture producers.
If the LCD is successful and can document critical areas are being protected at the July 2011 baseline at the watershed scale, the county will not have to write critical areas ordinance for agriculture uses.
2019 Tour of Agriculture
(Maureen Harkcom, LCFB Board Member, Vision/Steering Chair Tour Organizer)
Last year’s tour was successful and garnered us the support of the Lewis Economic Development Council (EDC) in the form of a much appreciated grant in support of this year’s tour. We were able to expand participation numbers so that the tour included: six state legislators, an aide to Jaime Herrera Beutler, Washington Farm Bureau staff, USDA and WSDA staff, and representatives from WA Public Lands, NWAg Business Center, Lewis County Board of Commissioners, Port of Chehalis, Community Development and many more. The 40-passenger bus pulled out of the EDC parking lot at noon and headed toward eastern Lewis County to visit four LCFB members. We had multiple on-board speakers filling in the travel time, so it went quickly. Our first stop was Cowlitz Meadows Dairy where three generations of the McMahan family talked about their
organic operation and showed us both of their milking parlors. Our next stop was Cowlitz Falls Lavender where Justin Claibourn talked about the challenges his family has faced in starting this new enterprise—being new to
agriculture, dealing with regulations, availability of labor, learning to market their products, becoming a bookkeeper and IT person.....the list goes on!
Our third stop was Four Cedars Apiary in Glenoma where Dave (currently enrolled in a Master Beekeeper program) and Kathy (her family has raised bees for 40 years) currently have about 20 hives with plans to increase up to 200. They talked about the challenges and rewards of caring for honey bees, producing and marketing honey and honey products, and their plans to develop an on-site retail outlet for their honey products and bee keeping supplies to support other bee keepers. We then headed for Natives Northwest where the Chris Aldrich family and employees educated us on the art and science of raising Christmas trees (Lewis County is the top producing county in the state).
We concluded the day with dinner in the home of Maureen Harkcom catered by chef Jeremy Wildhaber. The meal was made totally from ingredients grown in Lewis County—lamb meatballs, summer squash and tomatoes topped with bacon and feta cheese, green salad, coleslaw, roasted fingerling potatoes, grape juice and blueberry crisp. Jeremy also provided our dinner entertainment, impressing the group with a beautiful a cappella opera piece.
Taken back to their vehicles, some participants stood in the parking lot continuing their conversations—apparently they just wanted the day to continue. Alex Brown, award winning reporter of the Chronicle, participated in part of the tour and wrote a great front-page article. Don Jenkins of Capital Press participated in the entire day and wrote a complementary article. We received multiple thank you notes and plans are already being worked on for next year’s tour which will focus on the western end of the county.
2019 Legislative Session in Review
(Col. Ron Averill, LCFB Board Member, Legislative Chair)
At the November 2018 WFB Annual Meeting the Legislative Committee recommended the below legislative priorities for the 2019 Washington State Legislative session. These priorities were adopted by the WFB Board:
We urge lawmakers to focus on policies that will enhance the ability of our family farmers to provide farm-fresh food to nourish Washington families by:
WSFB Recap of 2019 Session by Tom Davis, WSFB Political Director:
The impacts of the 2018 general election became more obvious as the Legislature set about its work this year. To our surprise the greatest change was less about the increase in the Democrat majorities in both the House and the Senate, and more about the higher number of progressive legislators now serving in Olympia.
Much of our attention was spent battling the anti-agriculture legislation and rhetoric that was pushed by these progressive legislators. Here is a sample:
Never have we heard so much anti-agriculture rhetoric in the legislative process, like repeated declarations from the Senate floor and in committee that agriculture doesn’t pay any taxes.
It could have been worse!
When the dust finally settled from the 2019 legislative session, it was clear to us that it certainly could have been worse. Through our collective efforts, we successfully killed or amended many of the most damaging bills this session
For context, 2,782 bills were introduced this year. Of this number, 481 were passed by the Legislature. We tracked 280 of these bills due to their potential impact to agriculture, farm families or our rural communities based on the direction provided in our WFB Policy Book.
This session proved that collectively we must all continue to find ways to communicate with urban legislators and their constituents about the value farmers bring to this state and how much rural communities depend on agriculture remaining economically viable.
For the first time in state history, Washington legislators approved a two-year budget that exceeded $50 Billion dollars – an 18 percent increase in spending over the current two-year budget. Majority Democrats also approved more than $2.1 Billion in new taxes to pay for the increased spending outlined in their budget. This comes on top of the record revenue collections that have poured into the state’s coffers.
The key point is that this budget depends on a host of tax increases, including on businesses and real estate transactions, to pay for the highest level of spending in state history.
On taxes, the news really is split. On the positive side there were no increases to the state gas tax, and no new taxes created on capital gains or carbon (including a low carbon fuel standard, carbon tax, or cap-and-trade program). However, the 100 percent clean fuel bill, although not specifically a carbon tax, could be interpreted as such because consumers will see a monthly increase in their electric bill in the future associated with the Legislature’s desire to eliminate the use of any fossil fuels for generating electricity.
Significant Bills Supported by WFB that passed:
(Ryan Thode, LCFB Board Member, Vice President, Policy Chair)
Farm Bureau Policy is the play book from which we lobby in favor of or in opposition to issues. If you think we should be working for or against a bill, check our policy book. A copy of the policy book can be obtained by requesting one from the Lacey office, attending the WSFB Annual Meeting or online at : https://wsfb.com/policy-development/ If we do not have policy on something you think we should, bring it to me and together we can work on diction and format. Then we can present it to the county board. Once passed by the county, it goes to the state Policy Development Committee where each county has a representative. If approved, the policy is then presented to the state delegation at the annual meeting for adoption into the state policy book. Once adopted as a state policy, the state can also request the policy be presented to the American Farm Bureau policy committee.
In 2019 Lewis county put forth a policy regarding truck Gross Combined Weight Rating located in section: 12.1 – Commercial Trucking Regulations
“4) Modernizing the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating/Combined Gross Vehicle Weight Rating system to account for today’s vehicles, by increasing the defined weight of a commercial motor vehicle from 26,001 lbs. to 42,900 lbs. We oppose: The mandatory use of digital log books for any commercial vehicle hauling livestock or agricultural products. (1998, Amended 2018).” (“Washington State Farm Bureau Policy Book” (2019). Https://Wsfb.com/Wp-Content/Uploads/2019/03/2019-Final-PD-Book-Web.pdf “Commercial Trucking Regulations”, pg. 64.)
Remember, if you have a topic/issue you think we (LCFB and WFB) need to address, do not hesitate to talk to Policy Chair, Ryan Thode. Also, come to a regular monthly board meeting in support of your idea to the board and explain its importance. It is your Farm Bureau—get involved.
Protecting Water Rights
(Robert Thode, LCFB Member, Member Lewis County Water Conservancy Board)
Lewis County Water Conservancy Board can process water right transfers and changes. I have been a member of this board for several years and have seen many problems in processing requests. If you have a water right, or think you do, you need to protect it.
First, some basics on Washington water rights. Washington water right law is a use it, or lose it, system. If you do not use your water right for five (5) years, (some exceptions) you no longer have a valid water right. If your water right certificate says you have 250 acre feet of water right (annual consumptive quantity) but you only have used 50 acre feet (average of two highest years in past five), that is all you can sell or transfer.
If you do not meter your flow it becomes a guessing game to determine how much you have used. We can calculate based on crop or electric power use. Note that PUD no longer has long term records, so save yours. Best is a meter and record numbers on the wall of the pump house. If needed, you can take the piece of plywood down and in to court.
Has your point of diversion changed? Check the certificate and make sure it is right. If not, it could be because the river moved or you thought it was OK to combine two diversion points. Whatever the reason, you need to get it officially changed.
Check your point of use on the certificate and make sure it is right. If not, de-facto changes can normally be processed. But this can create many problems during transfers and changes. The big problem we see in point of use is when a part of the land was sold. If you sell off a couple five-acre lots and do not specifically retain the water right in the sale documents, the water goes with the lots. Normally this means the water is lost and we will never get it back.
We have run into many other problems in processing water right changes but the first thing any water right holder should do is get all your paperwork together to check it out. You can do a public information request to Ecology for the complete file on your water right and they will send you everything back to when it was applied for. Put this in a safe place, as you or someone else will need it someday.
If you have questions, give me a call and I will see if I can point you in the right direction.
We are also looking for another volunteer to sit on the Lewis County Water Conservancy Board. This would be a great way for you to get a handle on water right law in Washington.
Lewis County Farm Bureau Board of Directors & Officers
Current Board Member Positions:
Board terms are three years with positions 4, 5, 6 up for election this year.
State Board Representative is Wisten Aldrich, her 2-year term is up for re-nomination.
Secretary is Lynn Mahoney, treasurer is Martha Thode, both appointed positions.
Martha will be stepping down as treasurer and a new treasurer will be appointed.
Oct. 16, 2019 LCFB Annual Membership Meeting/Banquet
Veterans Memorial Museum; Chehalis
$15 per person, pay-at-the-door
RSVP to Martha Thode, Treasurer, by October 9, 2019
360-985-2347 or 360-508-3138 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Featured speaker: Representative Jim Walsh
Attend and vote on three board positions, president, vice president, and our representative to the state board.
Newsletter Editor is Maureen Harkcom