Washington Growers May Get Help

Published online: Jul 19, 2001
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Growers in eastern Washington hammered by hail, rain and windstorms in late June may get help from Gov. Gary Locke and the state.

Locke introduced legislation today that would provide financial aid to growers and their workers suffering from the storm that walloped crops in 13 of the state's counties.

"This storm makes a tough year even tougher for our growers. It is very appropriate that we don't just asks the federal government for help, but do something at the state level for the victims of this storm," Locke stated.

Locke proposed a $7 million relief package, property tax exemptions, unemployment benefits for agriculture employees, and $3 million in additional funding for community- action agencies.

A wide variety of crops were damaged including potatoes, onions, cherries, apples and several others. Locke has asked the federal government to declare the 13 counties disaster areas, making them eligible for low-interest federal loans.

The Ritzville area of east central Washington was reportedly hit by hail, flattening several circles of potatoes.