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Eastern Wash. Farmers Take Their Cause To Seattle

Ruby de Luna
04/18/2001

Dozens of farmers from eastern Washington took to the streets Tuesday and gathered at Seattle's waterfront. They’re trying to call attention to the drought and the threat it poses to their livelihood. KUOW’s Ruby de Luna reports.

THE SCENE AT DOWNTOWN’S WATERFRONT ISN’T SOMETHING YOU OFTEN SEE IN THE CITY: FLATBEDS LOADED WITH FARM TRACTORS LINING THE STREET NEAR PIER 63, AND FARMERS HANDING OUT APPLES TO PEOPLE PASSING BY… We just want to educate the people that might not understand the issues that face us. BRITT DUDEK GROWS APPLES NEAR WENATCHEE. HE SAYS THIS YEAR’S DROUGHT IS GOING TO BE ESPECIALLY HARD ON FARMERS. ONLY A THIRD OF THE WATER IS AVAILABLE FROM RIVERS, AND ENDANGERED FISH RULES ARE KEEPING MORE WATER IN THE STREAMS, SO THE STATE ECOLOGY DEPARTMENT PLANS TO RESTRICT WHAT’S LEFT FOR IRRIGATION. DUDEK SAYS THAT WILL BE DEVASTATING TO MORE THAN 300 FARMS LIKE HIS… For orchardists, it’s an all or nothing game. We can’t ration water to our trees. Our crop will be useless and if we’re not to water our trees for 2-3 weeks, the trees would die. DUDEK ADMITS IT’S A BIG TASK TO GET PEOPLE IN WESTERN WASHINGTON TO UNDERSTAND THEIR PLIGHT. BUT THE REALITY IS, IF FARMERS FAIL HIGH-PAYING PORT JOBS COULD DISAPPEAR, AS COULD THE WEALTH THAT EXPORTS BRING TO THE REGION. A THIRD OF THE EXPORTS SHIPPED THROUGH SEATTLE ARE FARM PRODUCTS, AND 60 PERCENT OF THEM ARE PRODUCED IN WASHINGTON. I’M RUBY DE LUNA, KUOW 94.9 PUBLIC RADIO.

12.10.18

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