The Association has the resources, knowledge, and contacts to help introduce, modify, or eliminate legislation beyond the abilities of individual members. This is accomplished through the contractual services of registered lobbyists in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. FWAA regularly partners with Agricultural Coalitions to support or defeat favorable or unfavorable legislation which would help or adversely affect a favorable business environment. A few examples are: During the 2009 legislative session, FWAA was able to get a law passed in Washington State which exempts all Agribusiness from the commercial driver’s license classroom course work (160 hrs) and employer certification requirements. In 2010, FWAA provided testimony to oppose the elimination of the sales tax exemption on agricultural products and a tax increase on products listed as hazardous. In 2013, FWAA was actively engaged with the campaign to defeat the I-522 Washington State Initiative, which would have required the disclosure of food produced through genetic engineering in the form of food labeling. This initiative was defeated. In 2014, FWAA actively supported WA SB 6157 to exempt the Hazardous Substance Tax on ag products warehoused but not used in WA State. In both 2012 & 2014, FWAA worked with the Oregon Department of Agriculture to craft the best possible fee alternatives for continued funding of the fertilizer division while providing continued ground water research by third parties and not increasing tonnage tax beyond the statutory limits. FWAA also worked with the Oregon DOT to craft an oversize vehicle permit for tender trucks. In 2016, FWAA worked with WSDA to obtain reciprocity for pesticide CEU’s between WSDA and the Certified Crop Adviser Program. In 2017, FWAA was able to get a bill passed to extend the Agricultural Hours-of-Service exemption passed for 12 months/year. The Association has an Executive Director that previously worked for the Executive Branch at the Federal level in Washington D.C., which gives the Association the knowledge, experience and strategy to be effective at both the State and Federal levels.
The Association has the resources, knowledge, contacts and ability to work with regulators in order to make compliance less of a burden on the industry. The Association is able to obtain accurate information from the proper sources and then educate the members on compliance issues either internally or buy securing experts within the field and then setting up the venue for the transfer of information in a timely manner. The Association also develops contacts and professional relationships with State and Federal personnel to enhance a fast, efficient and accurate communication avenue.
3. Strength (in numbers)
130 businesses can do what one or two cannot. If an individual company has an issue but wishes to remain anonymous they may have their Association make inquires or pursue resolutions without identifying themselves and thereby minimizing a concern related to reprisal. The Association can also extend greater influence through its use of sheer numbers which in turn may affect political considerations. FWAA issues “Hot Topics” which is a call to action often requesting members to contact State & Federal legislators or to make comments to the Federal Register. FWAA gives examples and instructions on how to make the contact.
Specialized training is often mandatory and since it is specialized, it is hard to come by, and is always expensive. FWAA organizes and hires vendors to provide training at convenient locations during appropriate times of the year and at an affordable price. Through the use of a volunteer Safety and Regulatory Committee, the right training for the industry is targeted so our members are safe, well educated, and in compliance to avoid accidents and costly regulatory fees or fines. FWAA provides ammonia training at two locations each year by contracting with a professional trainer who provides the necessary certification for the handling of anhydrous and aqua ammonia. In addition, FWAA provides Ag Chem Spill Response training which meets the Commercial Driver’s Licensing endorsement requirements.
FWAA provides many educational opportunities through its conferences and meetings where top-level industry experts share policy, industry, and economic information which is both timely and relevant. Your Association keeps you informed so that your decisions are based upon the latest and best information available. FWAA also administers the Northwest Region’s Certified Crop Adviser (NWCCA) program organizing and inviting educators who provide the continuing education credits (CEUs) to over 500 NWCCAs in six states, and one Canadian providence. State Pesticide CEUs along with Certified Crop Adviser CEUs are provided at all conferences and most meetings.
Although some of the FWAA members are competitors, many of them buy and sell amongst themselves. They work within the same agricultural industry either providing services or products. The FWAA conferences and educational events provide informal networking opportunities where information can be shared and challenges addressed. New and established links between different types of retailers and suppliers are acquired.
7. Exclusive Member Services
By being a member of FWAA, you are able to take advantage of a growing number of specific “member only” services such as securing the services of the ASMARK Institute who assist in Federal compliance issues. Far West also provides a “career” tab on its website where members may provide links to their job listings.
8. Linkage with National Industry Organizations
FWAA, like other Agribusiness Associations, communicates with National Organizations such as The Fertilizer Institute, CropLife America, Biotechnology Industry Organization, American Seed & Trade Association, and the Agricultural Retailers Association regarding issues affecting the industry. At least annually, these organizations and Agribusiness Associations from across the U.S. meet in Washington, D.C., to discuss issues and strategically prioritize them before making visits to members of Congress and Federal agencies. This initial contact begins the communication that is continued throughout the year.
9. Linkage with other State/Regional Agribusiness Associations
FWAA is one of many Agribusiness Associations across the United States and is part of the information sharing system. As situations develop in other parts of the country, FWAA knows when they are happening and can either take the appropriate actions or inform members of what is occurring. This person-to-person contact exists nowhere else on such a large and diverse scale.
10. FWAA is a Large Regional Organization with grass roots
Although FWAA’s physical footprint is in Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Utah, and Nevada, the Association has five Committees whose chairpersons are appointed by the current FWAA President. They are formed through a resolution process identifying specific functions. These Committees are the pulse and heartbeat of the Association and advise the Board of Directors on issues related to policy and the priorities of the Association. There are opportunities for members to experience individual growth and development through Committee involvement.