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Articles written by Pam Lewison

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  • New recourse against wolves

    Pam Lewison|Updated Jan 17, 2024

    There are at least 216 gray wolves in 37 packs in our state. Thirty-one of those gray wolf packs are in North-Central and Northeastern Washington. Senate Bill 5939 – relating to protecting livestock from wolf predation – seeks to give affected livestock raisers a chance to mitigate the confirmed and probable predation deaths of their animals. The bill would allow owners of livestock to monitor a depredation and kill the first gray wolf that returns. The bill lays out the liv...

  • Are grizzlies coming your way?

    Pam Lewison|Updated Oct 12, 2023

    Apex predators have already saturated the landscape in Northeast Washington. Now, the U.S. Department of Fish & Wildlife and the National Park Service want to add more by reintroducing grizzlies to the North Cascades. Both federal agencies proposing reintroduction of grizzlies into the North Cascades have invoked Section 10(j) of the Endangered Species Act as the trigger for bringing the predators back to Washington. Section 10(j) states federal agencies should, “facilitate r...

  • First-world mindset shows

    Pam Lewison|Updated Sep 21, 2023

    The phrase “first-world problems” has become a punch line – a throwaway statement because it is uttered by people with plenty of gadgets, a reliable food supply and a secure roof over their heads. It has also dulled our experience of a world in which seasonal food is the reality and some products are hard to get. When everything is available, regardless of season or effort, it is easy to voice shallow moral judgments when it comes to food production and consumption. Animal rig...

  • Decision a win for landowners

    Pam Lewison|Updated Jun 1, 2023

    In a victory for private property owners, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the “significant nexus” test in its Sackett v EPA ruling. The ruling changes how “waters of the United States” can be applied by leaving wetlands that are not directly flowing into “rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water that flow across or form a part of State boundaries” out of consideration as WOTUS. The “significant nexus” test was established in Rapanos v United States. The “significant ne...

  • Don't focus on carbon, manage our forests

    Pam Lewison|Updated Nov 17, 2022

    Forest health, climate change, and a plan that got almost no input before being announced is at the heart of the "carbon project" announced by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources last week. The project, developed by Finite Carbon, proposes to set aside 10,000 acres of forest in Western Washington, once set aside for marbled murrelet habitat and then cleared for logging, for carbon offsets that can be purchased by large companies in trade for their greenhouse...

  • Labeling can be confusing for consumers

    Pam Lewison, Washington Policy Center|Updated Aug 25, 2022

    My husband and I recently got into a discussion about the differences in the labeling of chicken. He saw a post on social media outlining the supposed differences between “pasture raised,” “cage raised,” “cage free,” and “free range.” It is easy to get caught up in the virtuous marketing of “pasture raised,” “cage free,” and “free range” versus “cage raised.” It is easy to imagine flocks of chickens strutting through pristine green fields and foraging for their food, but to...

  • Fourth of July cookouts are a costly proposition

    Pam Lewison, Washington Policy Center|Updated Jul 7, 2022

    This past Monday was the annual celebration of freedom from the tyranny of an absentee monarchy. In 2021, the White House tweeted that a Fourth of July cookout would cost Americans $0.16 less than in 2020 and touted it as a victory. Will there be a similar tweet for 2022? As the United States finds itself in the grip of rising food and fuel costs, it is hard to imagine given the numbers. The American Farm Bureau Federation reports the average Fourth of July cookout will cost...

  • Too many urban lawmakers have no respect for WA farmers. They proved it this session

    Pam Lewison, Washington Policy Center|Updated Mar 24, 2022

    About six weeks ago, I had a “cardiac episode.” As I laid in the emergency room, thinking about my to-do list and wondering what I could do for the people who were contacting me regularly asking for help with policies in Olympia that threatened their farms or ranches, the irony of my “heart problem” was entirely lost on me. I have not worked in public policy for very long, but I have been a farmer my entire life. Even when I’ve held other jobs or lived elsewhere, when I came h...

  • Holidays highlight food needs for all

    Pam Lewison, Washington Policy Center|Updated Oct 13, 2021

    Food security is often thought of as a national topic, but food security starts locally. Washington state is part of what the U.S. Department of Agriculture has dubbed the “Fruitful Rim.” Yet, we are also home to numerous “food deserts” where food is hard to come by. The USDA defines a food desert as a “low-income tract where a substantial number or substantial share of residents does not have easy access to a supermarket or grocery store.” More specifically, food deserts are...

  • Agriculture is fighting for survival

    Pam Lewison, Washington Policy Center|Updated Mar 4, 2021

    Some moments lend themselves to hyperbole. That amazing fishing trip from seven years ago; the winning free throw at a high school basketball game; the marriage proposal when time stood still. Or 2020, when Washington agriculture was fighting for its life after a court ruling forced the dairy sector to begin paying time-and-a-half and left the specter of retroactive pay lingering in the background like an unwanted flu just before vacation. In our state, we are waging a war...

  • Proposed B & O tax increase will reduce farm incomes

    Pam Lewison|Updated Jan 14, 2021

    Key findings include: 1. Farmers and ranchers have been negatively affected by the lockdowns, despite being deemed essential services. Median farm households in Washington lost $821 in 2019. 2. Washington farms generate $10.2 billion for our economy. 3. To earn a 20 percent profit margin, farms must earn more than $5 million annually. Only 324 farms in Washington did that in 2017. 4. When lawmakers increase taxes on farmers and ranchers, the immediate effect is a reduction in...

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