Did you know over 300 commodities are produced by farmers across Washington State? The diverse climate and rich soil make it possible for agriculture to thrive across the state. Though many people picture companies like Microsoft or Boeing when they think of Washington, agriculture is a vast and vibrant industry and it deserves recognition.
In Spokane, we are situated in a unique position because the city is surrounded by rural areas and agriculture. In the counties surrounding Spokane County, over 7,000 farms and ranches produce over $1 billion of products for an estimated $5 billion economic impact in our area alone. The Palouse region south of Spokane, with its rich soil and rolling hills, helps Whitman County be the #1 wheat producing county in the U.S.
Ag puts up some big numbers across the state. According to the Washington State Department of Commerce, agriculture across the state includes 37,249 farms and over 140,000 people employed. That means jobs and income for farmers across Washington, many of them small business owners. Ag is also a $49 billion industry, which means that all of these farms, small and large, make up a significant driver of the state’s economy.
Because of the economic impact and the number of farmers and businesses involved, advocacy serves an important role for this industry. One way we serve is through the Agribusiness Council, led by Melisa Paul, Director of Agribusiness and Ag Expo. The council is made up of producers, suppliers, financial institutions, food manufacturers and others whose mission is to support and promote the agriculture Industry of the Inland Northwest. Their priorities are to educate the community on the importance and vitality of agriculture and provide a voice for a better business climate for everyone involved.
Ag is an important part of our state’s economy and we should support the farmers, technology, manufacturers, and others that help our economic growth. One way you can learn more and support ag in our region is by attending our upcoming Spokane Ag Expo & Farm Forum—a three day event where industry professionals Meet. Learn. Grow.
Visit agshow.org for more info about the event.
Sources: Washington State Department of Commerce, USDA, WSDA