Washington state’s “Buffer Bill” causes an uproar in the state’s ag circles
A “Buffer Bill” is causing an uproar in some agriculture circles in Washington state.
If it passes, farmers would be required to expand the “farming buffer zone” around streams, lakes and rivers by 150 feet. Farmers would have to implement the buffers, but would be compensated. Opponents say the legislation has some misgivings. Washington Policy Center Ag Director Pam Lewison explains why.
“That rate is $100 an acre in Washington state, per year. And they’re going to give you that rate for 10-years. So, for $1,000 an acre you have to abandon the land that falls in that riparian zone in perpetuity. In 2019, farmland was valued at an average of $13,000 an acre in Washington state. So, for less than ten percent of the value per acre of your land, you are required to abandon it forever.”
The Policy Center says another problem with the bill is the buffer zones are mandatory, not voluntary.