Advocacy & Policy Issues
2013 Legislative Priorities
The WSFMA has three key priority issues during the 2013 legislative session:
- Pass wine and beer tasting legislation so that all eligible farmers markets, vintners and brewers are able to sample at farmers markets.
- Restore funding to WSDA's Small Farm Direct Marketing and Farm to School Programs so that small commercial farmers have access to resources and information so they can increase their sales to Washington consumers.
- Maintain State Food Assistance programs for low income Washington residents.
In addition, WSFMA supports legislation to expand the farm internship program to more counties and to provide tax relief for small farms less than 20 acres so that land under a farmstead is valued at current use instead of market value. When the parcel is enrolled in open space agricultural land (one of the current use taxation programs) this applies even if the parcel is greater than 20 acres.
WSFMA supports policy that expands the opportunities for Washington's farmers to direct market their farm products to Washington consumers.
2013 List of WSFMA Advocacy Issues
2012 Legislative Priorities
Farmers Market Nutrition Program Alert
In November 2011, WSFMA conducted a survey of FMNP farmers to find out more about them and how important the FMNP program is to their businesses. It was distributed at the Tilth Producers conference and emailed to farmers selling at farmers markets around the state. There were 887 farmers authorized to accept FMNP checks in 2011. 115 farmers responded to the survey. 55% of the farmers stated they earn between 75% - 100% of their family income from farming. Over 50% depend on farmers market sales for a significant portion of their farm income. The farmers indicated that sales from FMNP influence whether they sell at some markets. Farmers identified 54 markets across the state that they may stop selling at if the FMNP program is eliminated.
Read the results of the 2011 FMNP Farmers Survey - Impact of WIC & Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Programs in
October 8, 2011
The state’s revenues continue to fall far short of budget expectations. All state agencies had to propose additional cuts of up to 10% to balance the budget. To meet this goal, the Dept. of Health (DOH) plans to eliminate the WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP). Without the WIC part of FMNP, the Senior FMNP likely will not survive, because Dept. of Health manages required administrative functions for both programs.
In the last legislative session WSFMA and our partners fought hard for the program and succeeded: DOH kept $100,000 in the state budget so that both Farmers Market Nutrition Programs could continue in 2012. It is this $100,000 that is at risk again in the special legislative session that begins November 28 to balance the budget.
We need to muster enough end-of-season energy to act now. Please contact your state legislators and explain the importance of FMNP to your farmers, your low-income shoppers and your market. Legislators are in their local offices now, spending time in their communities and listening to constituents.
Please make 4 key points about the Farmers Market Nutrition Program:
4 Key Messages for Legislators
- WIC and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Programs are highly competitive federal programs funded by USDA. If Washington eliminates the program now, it’s not likely we will ever get these programs back, because other states will get Washington’s federal funds.
- Explain the positive impacts FMNP has on your market - FMNP sales figures, stories from shoppers or farmers, partnerships with local agencies or WIC clinics, trends you’ve noticed at your market - make sure you share these with lawmakers so they understand how important FMNP is.
- Also explain the negative impacts you expect may happen to your farmers and your market if this program is eliminated.
- If there is any confusion from your lawmaker: The Farmers Market Nutrition Programs serve two populations: low income WIC families and low income seniors. The Farmers Market Nutrition Program for WIC families is different – separate and does not duplicate – the WIC Program. They serve the same clients, but they are different programs at the federal and state level. By eliminating WIC FMNP, those low-income families lose a food assistance benefit for healthy food that also supports local farm business.
Find your Legislators
Basic Facts about FMNP in 2011
- WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program is a federal program funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). It is administered by the Washington Department of Health. WIC FMNP receives about $670,000 from USDA, with a requirement of a small state match. WIC FMNP is separate from the WIC Program (officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children) which provides monthly food benefits.
- The Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program is administered by the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS). It is also funded with USDA funds and also requires a small state match. DSHS partners with DOH to share administrative costs. In 2010, low income seniors spent about $653,600 in Senior FMNP benefits.
- 130 participating farmers markets all over the state.
- 885 participating farmers from 38 of the state’s 39 counties (i.e. FMNP touches all parts of the state).
- Tell the legislator how much money came through your market.
- Learn more about the Farmers Market Nutrition Program