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Greg Martin 04/12/05 Inspection fee increase opposition
by Greg Martin, click here for bio

Program: Fruit Grower Report
Date: April 12, 2005

The Washington State Department of Agriculture has proposed a fee increase on fruit and vegetable inspections in the state. But it is a move that has several ag groups upset. The Washington State Horticultural Association, Yakima Valley Growers-Shippers Association, Wenatchee Valley Traffic Association, and Washington Growers Clearing House are among the seven organizations making up a Specialty Crop Coalition opposed to the proposed fee increase. Jim Hazen of the Hort Association says the coalition noted in a recent letter to Washington Ag Director Valora Loveland that about nine per cent of current fees paid by growers and shippers cover W.S.D.A. administration expenses.

HAZEN: What were arguing is is that if they would not take that money out of that fee for service program, there would be no need to raise fees, that there would be plenty of money to address the financial situation that the fruit and vegetable inspection program claims its under right now.

Again, this is a proposal only, which Hazen says he and others believe can be stopped with significant specialty crop industry support.

HAZEN: We were assured at the last meeting that when they were discussing this proposed fee increase that if there was opposition they would pull it back. So from our perspective, this is all we really need to do.

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