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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, September 21, 2009
Corina Hayes, Thurston County Planning, 360-754-3355 x 7011

Public Meeting on Thurston County Working Lands Strategic Plan

OLYMPIA – The public is invited to attend a meeting next month to learn about plans for preservation of "working lands" in Thurston County .  The lands under discussion are those traditionally used for farming or forestry. 

Thurston County has a long tradition of agriculture and timber production yet today these working farms and forestry lands are rapidly disappearing. While the rate of conversion has not been specifically studied in Thurston County , 2002 U.S census data shows Thurston County with 74,442 aces in farms and forestry.   Overall these numbers are a sharp decline from 1954 when Thurston County had 157,202 acres in active production.

Thurston County is one of the fastest growing counties in Washington State , which has increased the demand for available land.  Since the 1960s, when the decline in working lands began, the county has consistently been exceeding the state's overall rate of growth.  This growth pattern is anticipated to extend well into the future. This results in continued pressure on property owners to sell their lands and leave production. The county's Agricultural Advisory Committee, made up of county residents, has developed a number of potential strategies designed to help conserve working lands. These strategies will be discussed at this meeting.

What- Public meeting regarding Thurston County Strategic Plan for Working Lands

When- Thursday, October 1st at 7pm

Where- Tenino Elementary School , 301 Old Highway 99N, Tenino

Those who wish to find out more about the work of the Agriculture Advisory Committee and review draft documents and meeting minutes can visit the county on the Internet at- http://www.co.thurston.wa.us/permitting/agriculture-advisory-committee/draft-plan.htm

Project staff member Corina Hayes can be contacted at agriculture@co.thurston.wa.us

County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3