Washington Farm Bureau Legal Foundation largest ever donation of $50,000

By Kristi Pihl, Tri-City HeraldMarch 23, 2014 

A Pasco businessman recently gave the Washington Farm Bureau Legal Foundation its largest donation ever.

It's a $50,000 boost that will help the relatively new foundation continue to find solutions for legal issues facing state farmers.

Locally, the foundation has helped farmers as they argued that the White Bluffs bladderpod, a plant species the federal government recently listed as threatened, is genetically no different than plants that grow in other parts of Washington, Idaho and Oregon.

The foundation, created in 2011 by the Washington Farm Bureau, paid for DNA testing of the bladderpod using donations, said coordinating manager Mark Klicker.

The $50,000 donation by John Ramsey, owner of Pasco's Broadmoor RV, isn't earmarked specifically for that battle.

But Steve Cooper, a Basin City farmer who is on the foundation's advisory committee, says it will really help jump-start the foundation and make it a force to be reckoned with in the future.

The agricultural industry is an anchor for the economy of the Mid-Columbia. Klicker, a Walla Walla County farmer, said legal issues that affect farmers also can affect the economy as a whole.

The foundation can help research issues, educate people and look for solutions, he said.

For example, the foundation has hired an Oregon State University researcher to do water quality assessments and create best management practices for livestock water quality, Klicker said.

Klicker does expect the bladderpod issue is one the foundation may continue to help with in the future.

For more information or to donate, go to www.wsfb.com, go to Advocacy, then click on legal foundation or call 1-800-331-3276.

-- Kristi Pihl: 582-1512; kpihl@tricityherald.com

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