Farmland Preservation protects valuable 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.
Skagit County will use this grant to buy the development rights, permanently, on 267 acres of prime farmland, known as the Smith Farm on Fir Island. The land has been farmed for more than 100 years and is designated as agricultural land of long-term commercial significance and prime farmland by Skagit County and by the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service. The long daylight hours, mild maritime climate, and fertile soils make the Skagit Valley one of the few places in the world ideal for vegetable seed production. Because the Skagit Valley produces between 50 percent and 75 percent of the world’s spinach and cabbage seed, these properties have an importance far beyond the local level. The land also supports a variety of migratory bird species and the Wrangell Island Snow Geese, which is protected by international treaties. Pressure to convert farmland is increasing dramatically as the county’s population grows, expecting to increase by 46 percent between 2000 and 2020.