Voter-approved program protects land for agricultural use
StoryThe Metropolitan King County Council today congratulated the architects of King County’s Farmland Preservation Program (FPP) that has protected 13,337 acres from development during its 30-year history.
Participating in the formal recognition commemorating the 30th anniversary of the program were FPP Manager Judy Herring, former FPP Manager LeRoy Jones, Anne Mack and Marguerite Sutherland of Preserve Lands for Agriculture Now, former Governor and County Councilmember Mike Lowry, former King County Commissioner Scott Wallace, Agriculture Commission Chair Nancy Hutto, Agriculture Commissioner Judy Taylor, King County Agriculture and Forestry Program Manager Kathy Creahan, and bond measure advocate Steve Ohlenkamp.
The voluntary Farmland Preservation Program was approved by county voters in 1979 to purchase development rights from property owners so that the land can be preserved permanently for agricultural or open space uses. The program recognizes the significant economic and environmental benefits that agriculture provides to the citizens of King County, and that land suitable for farming is an irreplaceable resource.
“King County has a rich and varied agricultural heritage that is important to preserve for our economic and ecological sustainability,” said Councilmember Kathy Lambert, who represents rural northeast King County. “We want to have access to locally grown food in King County, and that means supporting local farmers so they can afford to continue farming their land. Locally grown food is fresher, healthier and requires fewer natural resources for transportation and packaging. A productive agricultural district is vital for the future of our region and our quality of life.”
“Thirty years ago, the voters instructed the county to preserve farmland for future generations before it was too late,” said Councilmember Reagan Dunn, who represents rural southeast King County. “The Farmland Preservation Program has accomplished that goal and continues to be a tool for ensuring a future for farming in King County – which means a future where farmers continue and pass on their trade and locals can buy produce and other farm products that sustain the local economy and environment.”
Most of the farmland protected by the FPP is located in the county’s five Agricultural Production Districts: Sammamish River Valley, Snoqualmie Valley, Enumclaw Plateau, Upper Green River and Lower Green River.