Pear orchards in Sunnyside, WA
Washington is a leading producer of numerous fruit and vegetable crops, making our state a key supplier of food for domestic and export markets. Our growers feed people across the U.S. and around the world. The agriculture and food sectors are a cornerstone of Washington’s economy in both rural communities and metropolitan areas.
Agriculture is woven into the fabric of Washington state’s heritage and has been an important part of our culture since the earliest days of territorial settlement. Farmers and ranchers provide environmental stewardship that supports 15 million acres of the state’s lands.
Washington's 37,249 farms power a diverse agricultural economy, led by the state's apple industry that accounts for 70 percent of U.S. production. In addition to Washington’s top four commodities – apples, wheat, milk and potatoes – the Evergreen State is a major producer of hops, stone fruits, farm forest products, fish, shellfish, onions and mint oils.
We’re also home to a large food processing industry that supports many supply and marketing services in machinery, pesticides and fertilizers, transportation, packaging, and more. The quality and safety of Washington’s agricultural products continue to raise the state’s reputation around the world.
- The value of Washington’s agricultural production reached $10.7 billion in 2015, setting a record. This is 5 percent above the previous high of $10.2 billion in 2014.
- Nearly $14 billion in food and agricultural products were exported through Washington ports in 2015, the third largest total in the U.S.
- Agriculture generates income and employment on farms in all 39 counties. The industry is an economic pillar of many rural communities.
Governor Inslee’s goals to grow the agriculture sector include:
- Harness emerging opportunities: organic, sustainable and local; food security; bio-digesters; climate change; multi-year farm bills passed by Congress.
- Enable more efficient movement of time-sensitive agricultural goods through policy actions and infrastructure development.
- Eliminate regulatory barriers.
- Protect and manage scarce resources: land, water, energy, labor, capital, and credit.
- Strengthen support services: transportation, technology, education, and marketing.
Gov. Inslee's Agriculture Sector Lead