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Farmland & Resource Conservation

The WSU Food Systems Program is working to promote stewardship and restoration of natural resources required for farming, harvesting, climate change adaptation, and succession planning.

The WSU Food Systems Program promotes stewardship and restoration of those natural resources required to maintain a healthy and vibrant agriculture in Washington State and the beyond. Among those essential resources are air, water, soil, forests, and rangelands; and, WSU researchers are working with stakeholders across the state to address the most pressing issues facing our agricultural resource base.

One of the most defining issues of our generation is the changing climate, and how we will manage agricultural systems so intimately tied to the climate. Washington State is fortunate in that current models point to our region as one where agricultural productivity should improve. However, a shift in agricultural production centers comes at a cost. Washington farmers must be prepared to adapt their growing systems to crops that have never been produced here. Our distribution networks will need to adjust to increased supply and demand. The WSU Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources is at the cutting edge of climate change adaptation, and is bringing that expertise to Washington’s farms.

As the population in Washington grows, demand for housing and services puts extreme pressure on the viability of our farmland. Coupled with a foreseeable increase in demand for Washington-grown foods, it is imperative that farmland preservation remain a key component in framing land-use policy in the decades to come. One key to the preservation of arable land for farming is having workable models for retiring farmers to pass their farms to the next generation of farmers. The WSU Food Systems Program is at the forefront of succession planning education in Washington State, holding workshops across the state to help farmers plan for the future of their families and the success of Washington’s agriculture for the next generation.