Letter to the editor: Promote sustainable agricultural practices


As corporate farms expand, small farmers are pushed aside in favor of cash crop growers subsidized by the U.S. Farm Bill. While the USDA predicts net agricultural income will increase this year, individual farmers’ debt will increase and household income will remain level after a 6-percent drop in 2015. How can we, as individual students, community members and voters, give small farmers the support they need to encourage the growing of crops that can sustainably feed our fellow humans?

Sustainable agriculture, defined as food produced by ethical methods that can be repeated for centuries without negative environmental consequences, should be prioritized. Our congressional representative, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, needs to be held accountable not to the agribusinesses that fund her campaigns, but to the citizens that vote her in.

Subsidies that currently protect only corn and dairy large-scale growers can be used to also support small-scale farmers who are applying the latest information in sustainability in order to grow responsible, nutritious food. Furthermore, we need to take action that helps farmers trapped in the corporate system transition back to sustainable methods.

As WSU community members, we can take immediate action. Contact or donate to the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, call McMorris Rodgers and participate in on-campus organizations that work to promote sustainability. Let’s join our land-grant university at the forefront of this issue. Without reform on multiple levels, our farmers will undoubtedly continue to suffer. Truly, this is a cause that could not be more immediate for our region.