In an effort to better connect farmers with food banks and other programs that help those in need, Representative Dan Newhouse is introducing companion legislation to Kelly Loffler’s American Farms, Food Banks and Families Act in the Senate. Newhouse said his proposal will create a position at the USDA to help identify barriers and regulation that hinder farmers from being able to donate fresh food to food banks or other distribution centers.

"I can tell you from experience as the former director of the Washington state Department of Agriculture, where we had the responsibility of these programs, I saw firsthand some of the challenges our producers face in our state.”

Newhouse added the pandemic has demonstrated how important it is for producers to have the ability to easily donate, should there be a disruption to the supply chain.

When looking at local food bank organization, such as 2nd Harvest for example, need has at least doubled since March, and Newhouse said that elevated need is not going to change anytime soon.

“Even with all of that, we still have farmers and ranchers unfortunately with more product then they are able to sell. So, I think through this legislation, that will facilitate making it as easy as possible to match what local producers have to where the need is.”

Newhouse added his legislation and Loffler’s senate proposal have gained bipartisan support.

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