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Services for farmers in King County, Washington

To offer a suggestion or report an error on the King County agriculture services and information website, please contact Fred Bentler, webmaster.

Agriculture in King County, Washington

Customer Service Guide

"Prompt, Fair, Results-Oriented Service for All"

The Customer Service Guide (pdf) is designed to help you quickly locate the service you need.

Guía de Servicio al Cliente

Map of protected farmlands in King County (linked to larger version)
Map of protected farmlands in King County

Farm related facts for King County as of 2011:

  • Number of farms: 1,800;
  • Acres of farmland in production: 50,000;
  • Number of farmers markets in King County: 41;
  • Acres of farmland preserved through the Farmland Preservation Program: 13,200;
  • There are approximately 1,000 miles of agricultural ditches in King County;
  • More than 8,000 infestations of Class A and B noxious weeds are controlled in the county each year;
  • King County commercially-grown farm products

King County farm programs

King County Agriculture Program
Our main group serving farmers in King County.

Local Food Initiative
King County is working to establish a food pipeline between local growers and cities with hungry residents.

King County Agriculture Commission
Sign up for a newsletter to keep abreast of land use issues, policies, regulations and incentives affecting commercial agriculture in King County.

Livestock ProgramLivestock Program
A program that supports the Livestock Management Ordinance, a King County ordinance intended to provide a buffer of safety to keep salmon-bearing streams free of pollution. Provides information and an application for cost-sharing of fencing, storage, and other potential expenses to help farmers embrace good stewardship practices.

Farm Pad Program
Find help with building a farm pad to protect livestock in King County floodplains.

Agricultural Drainage Assistance Program
Also known as the Fish & Ditch Program, this program provides technical and financial help to farmers working to maintain agricultural watercourses. The site provides an overview of the program, monitoring reports, maps of streams and ditches, and contact information.

Farm product marketing resources

Puget Sound Fresh - Western Washington Farms Puget Sound Fresh
Add your farm to our growing, searchable database of farms, crops and products to reach a very large market. King County created Puget Sound Fresh to support local farmers and insure a close-in food supply while encouraging consumers, wholesalers, retailers and restaurants to seek out and purchase higher-quality, fresher, locally-grown products.

Local food video: episode 15 of Yard Talk
Program promoting the benefits of local food and providing tips and tricks. Covers a variety of subjects from backyard gardening to farmers markets and local farms. 18 minutes, 44 seconds.

Free soil testing program, King Conservation District (external link)

Salmon Safe (external link)
Certifies fish-friendly farms for marketing or promotional purposes, to help influence the restoration of agricultural watersheds so that salmon can sustainably spawn and thrive.

Operational and environmental resources for farmers

Building permits for agricultural structures
Find guidance on requirements that govern building barns, greenhouses, shops, and other utility structures on agricultural lands.

Noxious weed control
Aggressive exotic plants degrade pastures, may poison livestock, and produce amazing volumes of long-lived seeds. To help control invasive weeds, King County offers a noxious weed list site to help with weed identification, a form to report noxious weed infestations, and information sheets on best methods to control noxious weeds -- and is available to answer your questions at the Noxious Weed line, 206-296-0290.

Farm management planning
Learn how to achieve agricultural benefits such as reduced livestock setbacks from streams, siting of agricultural buildings or access roads in stream and wetland buffers, and how to get exceptions to county clearing and grading permits while still protecting everyone's environment.

Manure management
Provides help on handling manure to avoid contaminating lakes and streams.

WSDA Dairy Nutrient Management (external link)
Describes laws and guidelines governing dairy waste dispersal to ensure clean water, and provides a form to report manure spills and discharges.

Biosolids Program
Biosolids are the nutrient-rich, composted solids extracted during wastewater treatment. This page provides information about biosolids and the biosolids program, answers questions about quality control and safety, and provides case studies of biosolids use and chemical analysis for fertilizer applications in commercial agriculture.

Agriculture documents
Plans, studies and reports related to Agriculture in King County, Washington.

  • Farmers Market Report
    Identifies financial challenges facing farmers markets that impact their viability and proposes changes to help strengthen operations and facilitate farmer access to the markets.
  • FARMS Report - Future of Agriculture Realizing Meaningful Solutions
    Report describes the findings of a study that determining what measures King County and other agencies should take to ensure the continued success of local agriculture.
  • King County Climate Change Plan
    How King County seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, adapt to projected climate change impacts, and embed mitigation and adaptation into county policy decisions. The plan incorporates agriculture-related goals and actions.

Farmland preservation

Farmland Preservation Program
Voluntary program to preserve farms through voter-approved purchase of development rights.

Current use taxation
Reduce taxes for agricultural land uses (current use taxation), for providing public benefits or for timber lands.

Transfer of Development Rights Program
A voluntary program enabling landowners to buy and sell residential development rights on private property to preserve public benefits in our rapidly growing region-- for example farms, forestlands, open space, regional trails and designated urban separator lands and habitat for threatened or endangered species. Owners benefit financially through the transfer of development rights to better locations while the public benefits through permanent preservation of critical lands.

Conferences and workshops

Agriculture breakout session results, King County Climate Change Conference
Review a summary report describing anticipated affects of global warming on agriculture in King County and Washington State with proposed mitigation and adaptation strategies. Also, look up the agriculture session agenda, presentations, and speaker credentials and biographies.

Agricultural water rights workshop
View presentations from a 2010 workshop about water law in Washington State including when water rights are required, how the state issues water rights, and practical information on obtaining, using, and protecting water rights for agricultural purposes.

Farm related resources

King County working resource lands
Look up forests and farms protected by King County as working resource lands. The natural lands site provides pictures, location maps and rules for public use.

Wetland topics
Information about wetlands, wetland plants and wildlife, development and mitigation rules, and educational programs from King County.

Flooding services and information
Services to help before, during and after floods including the King County Flood Warning System, flood buyouts and other programs, how to call in drainage complaints, and hydrologic data.