SUBSTITUTE HOUSE BILL 2758





                        57th Legislature

                      2002 Regular Session


Passed by the House February 14, 2002

  Yeas 98   Nays 0




Speaker of the House of Representatives







Passed by the Senate March 4, 2002

  Yeas 47   Nays 0



I, Cynthia Zehnder, Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives of the State of Washington, do hereby certify that the attached is SUBSTITUTE HOUSE BILL 2758  as passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate on the dates hereon set forth.




                          Chief Clerk






President of the Senate




Approved Place Style On Codes above, and Style Off Codes below.               




Governor of the State of Washington

                   Secretary of State

                  State of Washington



                    SUBSTITUTE HOUSE BILL 2758



             Passed Legislature - 2002 Regular Session


State of Washington      57th Legislature     2002 Regular Session


By House Committee on Agriculture & Ecology (originally sponsored by Representatives Quall, Linville and Hunt)


Read first time 02/08/2002.  Referred to Committee on .

Establishing the agricultural conservation easements program.

    AN ACT Relating to establishing the agricultural conservation easements program; adding new sections to chapter 89.08 RCW; and creating a new section.




    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1.  Among the rising costs that are increasingly driving Washington farmers out of business is the cost of land.  Many of our oldest, well-established farms, often on the fringes of established communities, are under growing pressure to be sold for uses other than agriculture.  In the face of these rising land costs, new farmers are finding it increasingly difficult to be able to afford to purchase farmland.

    At the same time, the conversion of these prime farmlands to development costs our communities open and green space, reduces our access to local quality food, diminishes our cultural and historic roots, often represents a fiscal loss for governments, and frequently results in environmental costs including reduced flood detention, loss of surface water filtration, diminished aquifer recharge, loss of habitat and connective wildlife migration corridors, and loss of opportunities to protect riparian lands.

    These concerns, among others, are leading the federal government and local jurisdictions around our state to provide funding for local programs to purchase agricultural conservation easements that help keep farmers in farming and farmland in agriculture.  It is the intent of the legislature to create a Washington purchase of agricultural conservation easements program that will facilitate the use of federal funds, ease the burdens of local governments launching similar programs at the local level, and help local governments fight the conversion of agricultural lands they have not otherwise protected through their planning processes.


    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 2.  A new section is added to chapter 89.08 RCW to read as follows:

    (1) The agricultural conservation easements program is created.  The state conservation commission shall manage the program and adopt rules as necessary to implement the legislature's intent.

    (2) The commission shall report to the legislature on an on-going basis regarding potential funding sources for the purchase of agricultural conservation easements under the program and recommend changes to existing funding authorized by the legislature.

    (3) All funding for the program shall be deposited into the agricultural conservation easements account created in section 3 of this act.  Expenditures from the account shall be made to local governments and private nonprofits on a match or no match required basis at the discretion of the commission.

    (4) Easements purchased with money from the agricultural conservation easements account run with the land.


    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 3.  A new section is added to chapter 89.08 RCW to read as follows:

    (1) The agricultural conservation easements account is created in the custody of the state treasurer.  All receipts from legislative appropriations, other sources as directed by the legislature, and gifts, grants, or endowments from public or private sources must be deposited into the account.  Expenditures from the account may be used only for the purchase of easements under the agricultural conservation easements program.  Only the state conservation commission, or the executive director of the commission on the commission's behalf, may authorize expenditures from the account.  The account is subject to allotment procedures under chapter 43.88 RCW, but an appropriation is not required for expenditures.

    (2) The commission is authorized to receive and expend gifts, grants, or endowments from public or private sources that are made available, in trust or otherwise, for the use and benefit of the agricultural conservation easements program.


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