The House Agriculture Committee voted to pass a bill to create a “Washington Grown” branding program, just in time for National Ag Day. A branding program is a marketing tool to highlight the bounty our state provides to tables locally, throughout the country, and all over the world.
Washington state regularly competes, and keeps pace, with much larger states and leads the nation in the production of apples, blueberries, hops, pears, spearmint oil, and sweet cherries. Washington state is ranked No. 15 in overall agricultural production in the U.S. – competing against bellwether states like California, Texas, and Nebraska – while offering products not typically grown in such famous ag states.
Tomorrow marks the 50th Anniversary of National Ag Day. At its inception in 1973, organizers recognized people were living farther from where their food originated; they wanted to remind Americans that food production in the United States is valuable.
Passing a bill to allow the farmers and ranchers to show state pride with a “Washington Grown” label not only makes sense for the agricultural community. It makes sense for the growing number of consumers wanting to access their food closer to home. A recent study noted a growing number of consumers consider the support of local food a form of patriotism and are willing to pay a premium for food produced closer to them.