Central Washington is one of the most agriculturally rich and diverse regions in the United States.
Since coming to Congress, I have had the honor of representing our agricultural producers, advocating for strong trade agreements and market protection measures, and securing the tools and resources our state needs to remain at the cutting edge of agriculture innovation.
I was recently appointed to serve on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, and Food and Drug Administration – a priority of mine since I was named to the Appropriations Committee in 2017.
On this subcommittee, I will have a direct hand in advocating for the interests and priorities of Central Washington’s agriculture industry and rural communities. This is especially important given the lessons we have learned throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
Our farmers produce some of the most high-quality products in the world, and international trade accounts for 40% of our state’s economy.
As former director of the Washington State Department of Agriculture, I know how much work goes into making sure our producers have strong international and domestic export markets.
Mandatory programs like the Market Access Program and the Foreign Market Development Program enhance our producers’ export and marketing efforts across the globe, and I will continue to work to protect these critical funds.
Washington State University’s students and faculty are second to none in agricultural research, working with agriculture associations and stakeholders to conduct essential research into many of our specialty crops.
WSU, a land-grant university, receives much of its research funding from the federal government and continues to be a global leader in research on tree fruit, wine grapes, soil health, weather science and so many important components of the agriculture industry.
I intend to ensure this remains the case.
If the early days of the pandemic taught us anything, it is how fragile our nation’s food supply really is. With barren grocery store shelves all-too-common and many agricultural operations coming to a halt, our country got a glimpse of just how important it is to support the men and women who produce our food.
When demands at local food banks doubled, farmers and ranchers stepped up to donate surplus crops for families in need. We witnessed producers come together to host their own food drives, donating millions of pounds of food over just a few months.
When it comes to agriculture, Washington state – and specifically, Central Washington – has a lot to be proud of.
The pandemic also has widened the urban and rural divide, highlighting extreme disparities in rural broadband access and technological capabilities.
For months, I have heard from people across our district about the importance of investing in broadband, health care, utility, and water supply infrastructure throughout our rural communities is crucial, and I look forward to continuing to close the gap.
Serving on the Agriculture Subcommittee will afford me the opportunity to fulfill the funding priorities of Central Washington’s communities – from agriculture research and rural broadband expansion to strengthening our food supply chain.
I am ready to work to ensure the men and women who provide food for our country and the world can successfully recover from this past year’s devastating crisis while setting up our rural communities for success, and I look forward to continuing to serve as a voice for Washington agriculture.
U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Sunnyside, represents Washington’s Fourth Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.
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