Washington Congressional Delegation Calls for Federal Agriculture Disaster Declaration

Letter calls on Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to declare disaster for 12 counties with crops impacted by unseasonably cold weather

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), and U.S. Representative Dan Newhouse (R, WA-04) led the rest of the Washington Congressional delegation to call on U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to declare a federal agricultural disaster for twelve Washington state counties with crops impacted by unseasonably cold weather. 

“We write to respectfully urge you to approve the Secretarial disaster designations requested on November 8, 2019 by Washington Governor Jay Inslee,” the members of Congress wrote. “In October and early November 2019, twelve counties across Central and Eastern Washington experienced snowstorms and extreme cold weather events, resulting in damaged trees and vineyards and spoiled crops that cannot be harvested. These weather conditions caused severe harm to agricultural communities across the state and warrant federal disaster assistance.” 

The letter requests federal disaster assistance for twelve Washington counties – Adams, Benton, Chelan, Douglas, Franklin, Grant, Kittitas, Klickitat, Lincoln, Okanogan, Walla Walla, and Yakima. Reports from those twelve counties indicate that unseasonably cold weather damaged or destroyed up to a third of the total acres of wine grapes, nearly 14 million bushels of apples, and over 167,000 acres of potatoes. 

“On behalf of the producers in Washington state, we request an expedited review and subsequent USDA Secretarial disaster designation for the aforementioned counties harmed by recent extreme weather so that farmers can access needed federal assistance,” the letter continued. 

In addition to Cantwell, Murray, and Newhouse, the letter was also signed by U.S. Representatives Suzan DelBene (D, WA-01), Rick Larsen (D, WA-02), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R, WA-03), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R, WA-05), Derek Kilmer (D, WA-06), Pramila Jayapal (D, WA-07), Kim Schrier (D, WA-08), Adam Smith (D, WA-09), and Denny Heck (D, WA-10). 

The full text of the letter is available HERE.