Washington's ag community will roll out the red carpet as government and industry officials descend on the Evergreen State Sept. 21-26.
Washington will host this year's National Association of State Departments of Agriculture conference in Seattle.
Federal government and industry leaders are expected to attend the NASDA event, held as an annual gathering of top state farm agency leaders from throughout the U.S.
Greeting the guests will be Washington State Department of Agriculture Director Valoria Loveland, current president of the organization.
"We're working closely with our producers to make sure these national leaders understand the issues agriculture is confronting in our state," she says. "I want to focus on the profitability of farming and the importance of consumer confidence in our nation's food products. We are going to make a point of highlighting the wonderful variety of Washington's harvest."
For the past several years, Washington's agricultural economy has continued to expand. In 2005, sales by Washington farmers and ranchers exceeded $6.4 billion. The total value of the state's agriculture and food processing industry is estimated at $32 million. Washington farmers produce more than 300 different agricultural products.
Tours to tout Washington's role in national farming will include a conference trip to Skagit Valley to visit a berry farm, a potato producer and other growers. There'll also be a trip to a Washington State University research facility, and Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery in Woodinville to hear about the state's 500-winery viticulture industry.