Yakima Valley agricultural tourism poised for growth with help from DC

With 15 years of leadership under his belt, John Cooper, President and CEO of Yakima Tourism, has a pretty good idea to bring more tourists to Yakima in the future in addition to our sunshine, our beer and our wine.

Cooper says the farm-to-table agritourism experience is important for the future, and Cooper just got top-level help to make it happen.


4th District Representative Dan Newhouse (R-WA) and partners with Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) to showcase accelerating the growth of rural innovation and tourism opportunities to support rural industries and markets sustainable, which is a bit of a tortured way of saying “AGRITOURISM” law. The bill would create an Office of Agritourism within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to serve as a dedicated voice for agritourism businesses within the federal government and to consolidate information about federal resources available to property owners. agritourism enterprises. Newhouse says,

From our world-class wineries and breweries to local orchards, dairies and farmers markets, agritourism is a vital part of the economy of central Washington…I am proud to introduce the Agritourism Act to ensure that agritourism businesses have an advocate within the USDA who in turn help preserve our important agricultural traditions and honor our way of life. »

Farm life as a source of money

According to the most recent Census of Agriculture, agritourism revenues grew from $202 million in 2002 to $949 million in 2017, an increase of almost 370%. In communities like central Washington, agritourism has enabled small farmers to expand their businesses and increase access to high-quality local food sources, which has boosted local economies while preserving rural character. of the region.

Washington wine is ready to toast to progress

Josh McDonald, executive director of the Washington Wine Institute, says agritourism is essential to the survival of the wine industry.

This bill will help Washington wineries immensely in his district and across the state by promoting agritourism in a way that has never been done in the past.

Make something great even better

The Yakima County Extension Office says Yakima contains one of the most diverse agricultural cropping systems in Washington State. According to the 2011 United States Department of Agriculture Census, Yakima County is the #1 Washington County based on the market value of agricultural and livestock products, with agriculture contributing $1.2 billion to our local economy.

It’s time to double our current success with agricultural products with the public’s interest and appetite for the agricultural experience. If passed, Newhouse’s legislation could help

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