Washington State AgForestry Legislative Lesson

  • On August 23, 2017

On July 23rd, Washington State SB 5075 went into effect. The bill changes the state’s arbitration law to mediation, with the costs covered by the parties in dispute. Previously, the law required the Washington Department of Agriculture to foot the costs of an arbitration process, which became onerous. ASTA assisted with the language and the process, working with the ag department and industry in the state to draft a bill to solve the problem. A unique situation occurred as the bill worked its way through the legislature, however. Members of a state agriculture leadership program, AgForestry, were assigned the task of following and shepherding the bill as part of their training program. AgForestry, or to use its official name, the Washington Agriculture and Education Foundation, is recognized as the premier leadership development program in Washington State. AgForestry cultivates leaders in agriculture, forestry, fishing and related industries who communicate, collaborate, inspire and serve. The group was able to use the exercise to learn about the legislative process in a practical, hands on manner.