Members of the U.S. House of Representatives Agriculture Committee hosted a listening session Remlinger Farms in Carnation on July 22 as part of a series of nation-wide sessions being held across the country that will shape upcoming legislation.
The listening sessions — deemed “A 2022 Review of the Farm Bill: Perspectives from the Field” — are looking to gather input on the 2018 Agriculture Improvement Act, more commonly known as the Farm Bill, which expires in 2023. Legislators are hoping to use public input to make improvements to the bill’s next iteration.
According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, the Farm Bill, which has had 18 iterations since the 1930s, is a wide-ranging legislation which authorizes spending and provides resources to benefit a variety of agriculture, food security and forestry needs in the U.S. It is updated on a five-year span to make adjustments for current economic conditions.
The Carnation hearing is the third listening session in the series, followed by hearings held in Fresno, Calif. and Northfield, Minn., and drew a crowd of approximately 325 members of the public participating in-person or online, according to the agriculture committee.
The event provided a huge opportunity for state residents to influence the federal legislation, with speakers commenting on protecting farmland, farmer retention and recruiting, inflation, crop destruction and insurance, wildland fire preparations and the SNAP nutrition program.
The event drew residents from across the state, featuring speakers locally from Carnation, North Bend, Woodinville and Enumclaw as well as speakers from Spokane, Omak and Washington State University. They represented a range of groups impacted by agriculture, including farmers, ranchers, food bank directors and foresters.
U.S. Rep. Kim Schrier (D-Sammamish), who represents the Snoqualmie Valley and much of central Washington, hosted the event. Schrier was joined by Rep. Stacey Plaskett, a Democrat who represents the U.S. Virgin Islands. Both representatives serve on the House Agriculture Committee, with Schrier being the committee’s only member from the Northwest.
“As we heard today, Washington farmers and the Ag community are facing many challenges right now including rising costs, supply chain issues, and low crop yields,” Schrier said in a statement. “I’m glad to have made sure small and mid-size farmers, and the whole agriculture community got a say in the 2023 Farm Bill.”
While in the Valley, Schrier also visited Local Roots vegetable farm in Duvall.
The listening session in Carnation comes as Schrier faces a tough upcoming election this fall, in a redrawn congressional district now listed as a swing district by election experts.
Schrier is facing challenges from three Republicans in a primary election this week. Although she is almost certain to advance to the general election in November, some Republican-funded polling data has Schrier beating challengers Reagan Dunn and Jesse Jensen only by single digits.
The full listening session can be viewed online at: bit.ly/3vpinUL.