Tag Archives: Senate Agriculture Water & Rural Economic Development Committee

Industrial hemp crops grown in Washington?

Hemp-Field_combo1There was in interesting hearing last week in the Senate ag committee dealing with industrial hemp and the possibility of making it a new crop in Washington. While it’s currently outlawed due to its close relation to marijuana, now that the people have legalized recreational marijuana the conversation about making hemp a profitable agricultural product is ongoing as well.

You may not know this, but there are dozens of products made from and uses for hemp. Hemp seeds can be eaten raw, hempseed oil can be manufactured into soaps and body lotions, clothing and fabric can be woven from hemp fibers as well as ropes, twine, bags, paper, and a number of other products. Continue reading

Protecting water quality along with agruculture

stelprdb1077012Agriculture is a $49 billion component of the economy of Washington state. In recent years, more and more environmental overstepping has inhibited the ability of agriculture to grow as an industry. There is now a concern that the state’s non-point water quality regulations can impair the agricultural sector’s economic viability by leading to the conversion of agricultural land to other uses.

That’s why I’ve proposed Senate Bill 6087, which was approved by the bipartisan Senate Committee on Agriculture, Water and Rural Economic Development. SB 6087 declares that the protection of normal and customary agricultural practices upon agricultural land is essential to maintain the public welfare, support farm and ranch capacity to produce and preserve open spaces. It also stipulates that state and federal agencies must also take precautions to protect the economic viability of agricultural operations and minimize the conversion of agricultural land to other uses. Continue reading

Honeyford bill would spare honeybee industry from sting of B&O tax

honeybee-honeycomb-macro_26201_990x742The Senate Agriculture, Water and Rural Economic Development Committee today considered a bill aimed at putting more buzz into the state’s honeybee industry. Senate Bill 6402, sponsored by Sunnyside Sen. Jim Honeyford, would exempt honeybee products and services from the state’s onerous business and occupation tax by defining them as agricultural products.

“Washington has many crops that depend upon bees for pollination to produce profitable crops,” said Honeyford, who serves as ranking Republican on the committee. “All kinds of products come from bees, including honey, pollen, beeswax, propolis, and many others. Just as the state considers milk that comes from cows to be an agricultural product, so should it consider products derived from honeybees.”

Washington is the only state to impose a business and occupations tax, which is levied on the gross receipts of all business activities. Unlike a corporate net income tax, there are no deductions for the costs of doing business. Small businesses often struggle in their first several years just to make a profit; many in Washington fail as a result of hitting the low B&O threshold but ending up in the red and losing money. Continue reading

Honeyford receives Water Statesman Award for contributions to water issues

13-12-06 Senator Honeyford - Water Statesman AwardAfter addressing the Washington State Water Resources Association at its annual conference in Spokane last Friday morning, Sen. Jim Honeyford, R-Sunnyside, was presented with the group’s Water Statesman Award. The association, comprising irrigation-district representatives from across Washington, confers the honor only when members believe it is deserved.

“I was completely caught off guard by this award,” Honeyford said. “I was expecting to deliver a speech to the association updating them on water issues in central Washington, and was totally surprised when they announced I would be receiving their highest honor for the second time.” Continue reading

Honeyford named top Republican on Senate ag committee

Senator Jim HoneyfordSen. Jim Honeyford began the 2013 legislative session Monday by accepting the role of ranking Republican on the Senate Agriculture, Water and Rural Economic Development Committee. Under the new Majority Coalition committee structure, some committees are chaired by Democrats, some by Republicans and some are co-chaired.

“The Majority Coalition Caucus could have claimed every committee-leadership position for its members,” Honeyford noted, “but we want to promote bipartisan collaboration and cooperation to get government working again. That’s why we chose to invite Senator Brian Hatfield, a 19th District Democrat, to chair the ag committee this year. He accepted, and I am looking forward to working with him and the other committee members this session.” Continue reading