Rep. Chris Corry’s bill compensating farmers and ranchers for the early termination of their land leases unanimously approved by the House

Rep. Chris Corry's bill was unanimously approved by the House today. The measure seeks to provide compensation for ranchers and farmers whose land leases are terminated early by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

“Over the past several months, we've worked hard to bring this bill together,” said Corry, R-Yakima. “It manages to balance out both the financial investments in the land made by farmers and ranchers with the interests of the Department of Natural Resources.”

When the early termination of a land lease occurs, farmers and ranchers often face financial challenges. The revenue generated from state trust lands provides funding for K-12 school construction and other projects throughout the state. Therefore, DNR has an interest in leasing to tenants who produce high revenues.  According to state law, DNR can use a non-default termination to replace a lessee with a higher-revenue tenant.

House Bill 2498 would require the state to reimburse ranchers and farmers for some of those losses, including infrastructure investments made on the land such as fencing and other improvements.

Corry says helping farmers and ranchers through this process is the right thing to do. 

“Some of these farmers and ranchers—and their families—have been on the land for generations. This is a big step towards helping them when they're impacted by these types of decisions,” continued Corry.

The 60-day legislative session is scheduled to adjourn March 12.


Washington State House Republican Communications