Warnick bill to help agricultural education clears committee

A bill sponsored by Sen. Judy Warnick, R-Moses Lake, to help the next generation of agriculturists educate their communities was approved by the Senate Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources and Parks Committee Thursday.

The legislation, Senate Bill 6571, would provide a sales and use tax exemption to student members of agricultural education organizations like the Future Farmers of America.

“Education about agriculture is important,” said Warnick, the former chair of the Senate’s ag-related committee. “More urbanization often means more people are disconnected from where their food comes from, and the work these students are doing is a benefit to our entire state. Removing taxes on products they use in a very limited way to promote our next generation of farmers and business leaders will go a long way.”

Warnick constituent Hannah Warwick, a junior at Davenport High School and FFA student, came to Olympia to testify on the bill, which received a public hearing Thursday prior to its passage by the committee.

“Raising livestock can be very expensive and every penny counts,” said Hannah Warwick. “This bill would be perfect to help members with the financial aspect of raising livestock. On average, a show steer will consume one and a half tons of grain prior to a show. I spent $567 on grain, of that $43.65 was sales tax. That may not seem like a lot, but everything adds up.”

Hannah Warwick noted that many FFA students work odd jobs to afford this hands-on experience.

“I’m grateful my colleagues from around the state see the value in this legislation,” said Sen. Warnick. “These students learn so many valuable skills such as leadership, public speaking and the ins and outs of an agriculture business. Agriculture is a significant contributor to our economy and these future leaders will be needed.”