This month, the Coalition focuses its attention on the Farmland Preservation category. Farmland Preservation protects valuable, productive farmland and habitat for recreationally important animals, like salmon, birds, deer, and elk. These projects allow families to continue farming the land they have worked on for generations, and provide Washingtonians with healthy local food and a diverse economy. WWRP is the only source of farmland preservation funding in the state budget.
Our highlighted project this month is highly-ranked Bailey Farm, Snohomish County (proposed).
Project sponsor and Coalition partner PCC Farmland Trust has requested a $569,511 WWRP Farmland Preservation grant to conserve 270 acres of Snohomish County’s best and most productive farmland on Bailey Farm. This beautiful fifth-generation family farm is located in the southeast corner of the luscious Snohomish River valley, and eight percent of the farmland is part of the Snohomish River floodway.
Preserving this valuable farmland means saving critical upland and wetland, and allows the farmers to continue providing fresh produce to the surrounding communities. The farm offers a large u-pick vegetable operation and a farm stand for community members to buy fresh, healthy goods—as well as hosting school field trips to provide local youth with firsthand farm experience.
PCC Farmland Trust has contributed a match of $582,000 in Conservation Futures to the project, which is supported by Snohomish County, the local community, and many others. The Recreation and Conservation Funding Board ranked the Bailey Farm fourth among all Farmland Preservation projects submitted this biennium.
However, the legislature’s failure to reach a budget agreement has put funding for the acquisition of this vital farmland on hold. The Coalition continues to urge the Legislature to come to a bipartisan agreement on the Capital Construction Budget, so that deserving projects like this one will receive their funding.