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Rule bill to support farmers after natural disasters passes House 

OLYMPIA – The Washington House of Representatives advanced legislation by Rep. Alicia Rule (D-Blaine) today to assist farmers and ranchers recovering from natural disasters. HB 2051 requires the Washington state Conservation Commission to develop a short-term disaster recovery financial assistance program for farmers and ranchers with a requirement to initially address the damage in Whatcom County caused by the November floods. 

“Whatcom County farmers watched their fields turn into lakes overnight,” said Rule. “Farmers and ranchers feed our families and they can’t always wait for FEMA support to come, if it comes at all. This program will provide critical support to farmers quickly after a natural disaster so that they can continue to provide for their families, employees and our community.” 

Under the bill, the Commission will work with the Washington state Department of Agriculture to develop a program that will quickly distribute grants for things like replacement of damaged or lost crops, livestock, and equipment as well as payroll, utilities and rent, marketing, and repairs or improvements to building.  

HB 2051 passed with a bipartisan vote of 94-0 and now moves onto the Senate.