Farmland Preservation BoardWashington State Recreation & Conservation Office
Kathryn Gardow serves as an appointed member of the Farmland Preservation Board located in the Recreation and Conservation Office’s Washington Wildlife & Recreation Program. For almost a decade, this program has been addressing equitable statewide investment of public conservation funds. As conversion pressure on valuable farmland increases competition for funding, the Farmland Preservation Board’s program provides a mechanism to address the political and economic challenges of different local conditions and priorities.
In this position Kathryn evaluates, rates, and ranks statewide farmland preservation applications for recommending for capital grant funding from the Washington Legislature each biennium. Typically about 25 applications are submitted each year. Each proposal submitted to the Board for evaluation involves substantial effort and detailed preparation. While many of the proposals are worthy of the Board’s consideration, limited funding makes the process very competitive. Funding of preservation projects that are evaluated and recommended by the Board is contingent on the State Legislature approving the grant list.
The Board includes representatives from the WA State Department of Agriculture, Washington State University, non-profit organizations, farmers, and other interested in conserving the best farmland across the State. Kathryn brings a wider perspective to the Board’s deliberations, particularly when considering the “threats” to farmland posed by conversion pressures. She weighs relative merits of proposals in the context and complexities of land use, infrastructure availability and capacity, and development pressures on rural lands. Kathryn brings to the Board knowledge other than strict agricultural values– the perspective both of lost opportunities as well as great successes.