Washington Growers Seek Buy Back

Published online: Mar 22, 2001
Lines have been long and paperwork slow as growers in the Columbia Basin of Washington try to get in on the Bonneville Power Administration's power buy-back program.

The BPA is offering growers $330 an acre not to plant and to let the power and water they would save go back through the BPA's Columbia River generating facilities.

Most of the 150-plus growers waiting in line at Othello, WA, offices Wednesday, said they would not plant beans, wheat and corn. Most have either planted their potatoes or are late planters with ground ready to go into potatoes to meet contracts.

Most of the growers are applying from the East Irrigation District and some from the South. Most have already planted alfalfa and other crops like small grains.

Washington growers are reportedly discouraged with contracts being offered by processing companies. "Everything offered has nothing up-just down. There's no money to be made," one grower said.

"We just don't have much of a future in agriculture with everything going higher in price like fuel and fertilizer," one grower was quoted as saying.

BPA is reportedly more interested in the savings of irrigation water more so than the power it would save. This could then go through the river's generating facilities to help generate power on a year that will see very little runoff from snowmelt.