Community Agriculture Program Home
Thurston County’s Community Agriculture Program celebrates the region’s rich agricultural history and promising future. We are working to:
- Protect farmland and support farmers with innovative updates to rules and policies.
- Help farmers navigate county permits and enroll in land conservation programs.
- Help farmers maintain productive farms, while protecting the environment.
- Coordinate with regional partners to support a viable local agricultural economy.
Thurston County is currently reviewing which lands are protected for agriculture of long-term commercial significance through its Long-Term Agriculture (LTA) zoning and designation.
- View the online story map presentation for an overview of what this means.
- Read the Long-Term Agriculture fact sheet.
- Open the online agriculture zoning update map to see the proposed options for adding acreage in the LTA zoning and designation.
- May- July 2023 - Planning Commission Review & Public Hearing (Public Hearing scheduled for June 21, see details in Public Participation section below)
- August 2023 - SEPA Determination
- Sept - Nov. 2023 - BoCC Review & Public Hearing
- Nov-Dec. 2023 - Final Action Expected
*Meeting dates are tentative and subject to change. (Updated May 19, 2023)
Find Out What Was Said at Past Meetings
Thurston County hosted seven stakeholder group meetings from October 2022 to February 2023. Review past agriculture stakeholder meetings.
The Board recently adopted changes to make more lands eligible for the Farm and Agricultural Conservation Lands category of the Open Space Tax Program. To learn more about the changes, review the adopting resolution.
Thurston County has received a grant to update the Transfer and Purchase of Development Rights programs to make them work better for farmers. Outreach will begin winter, 2023. Sign up to our agriculture email list to get updates on this planning effort.
The Voluntary Stewardship Program (VSP) provides incentives to farmers who implement critical areas protections and natural resource enhancement on their property. The VSP is the alternative, non-regulatory approach to protecting wildlife habitat, wetlands, and critical aquifers on existing farms while maintaining agricultural productivity. Landowners are encouraged to work with our technical service provider, Thurston Conservation District, to develop stewardship plans specific to their land and farming activities.
The VSP is only successful in partnership with farmers! Share the good work you’re doing to voluntarily protect and enhance natural resources on your farm site by enrolling in the program.
The conservation planning program is for landowners (not already enrolled in VSP) with new farms or farm facilities located in critical areas. It allows them to work with technical consultants of their choosing or planners from organizations like the Thurston Conservation District or Natural Resources Conservation Service to prepare a conservation plan specific to their farm site. The conservation plan serves as an alternative tool in place of standard critical area rules and protections.
Get involved! We'd love to hear from you.
- Learn more about ag zoning from this online open house presentation.
- See public comments received on the agriculture zoning update.
- Submit a comment using the comment form or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Subscribe to the agriculture program email list to receive occasional updates.
- Attend an Agriculture Advisory Committee Meeting – This group of volunteers meets once a month and advises the Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) and Planning Commission on public decisions and emerging issues that could significantly affect agriculture.