WHEREAS, value-added food processing is an economic pillar of the State of Washington and in 1991 became the state's second largest manufacturing industry-employing 38,000 workers and providing $873 million in wages, $6.16 billion in gross business income and $20.67 million in Business and Occupational Tax; and
WHEREAS, over 80 percent of food products produced and processed in the State of Washington are sold in national and international markets, thereby generating new money for the state; and
WHEREAS, the Washington State Legislature in 1987 (Section 314 of Chapter 7, 1st Extraordinary Session) and 1989 (RCW 43.31.430) requested and received reports from the Department of Trade and Economic Development outlining strategies for retention and development of food processing as one of eight key targeted industry sectors; and
WHEREAS, processing crops, unlike other manufactured components, are usually seasonal and perishable and require expedited handling and an Informed regulatory climate to avoid loss due to spoilage, disease or decay; and
WHEREAS, food processing companies of all sizes are heavily impacted by federal, state and local legislative and, regulatory actions (sometimes conflicting) which affect the cost and therefore the competitive position of the Industry; and
WHEREAS, improving the competitive positions of existing Washington food processing companies Is the most certain way to retain and expand the food processing industry; and
WHEREAS, the State of Washington stands to benefit economically and can enhance the quality of life of its residents by expanding the value-added component of agricultural products through implementation of AG-2000 (the long-range strategic plan for the state's agribusiness industry, developed in cooperation with the Washington Department of Agriculture); and this expansion can result in new jobs, increased income, more profitability for businesses and expanded revenue for the state; and
WHEREAS, expansion of the food processing industry, including attracting now firms, will benefit both rural and urban areas and the thousands of individuals, organizations and businesses that supply the state's food processing industry with raw products, labor, supplies, equipment, resources and services;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Booth Gardner, Governor of the State of Washington, by virtue of the authority vested in me, do hereby formally establish the Food Processing Industry Development Council with the purpose of strengthening the food processing Industry. In carrying out this purpose, the Council is encouraged to work with the legislature and state agencies to seek ways to accomplish the following:
I. Establish a business climate that encourages production of the numerous crop and livestock commodities used as inputs to the food processing industry.
II. Encourage retention and development of existing food processing firms.
III. Provide incentives to expand existing businesses, attract new firms and encourage use of new processes.
IV. Identify impediments to industry growth and generate voluntary actions by the industry that will enhance the quality of life of our state's citizens.
V. Evaluate the competitive position of Washington's food processing industry, including the Impact of current and proposed regulations and taxes, relative to other states and nations, In order to prevent non-competitive increases In the cost of food production and marketing.
VI. Avoid laws and regulations that restrict interstate trade and that may be in conflict with federal food safety requirements.
VII. Monitor the economic performance of the value-added food processing Industry to identify the most promising areas and market for expansion, as well as to provide advance warning of declines in the existing Industry.
VIII. Recognize that unique considerations may be necessary for firms that process seasonal and perishable raw food products.
IX. Assure the continued availability of land, water and energy to support growth and development of agribusiness in the state.
X. Encourage the development of the physical and economic Infrastructure (including water, waste treatment facilities, transportation, trained labor, technology and education) necessary to support a viable food processing Industry.
XI. Encourage development of new value-added technologies for existing and new agricultural crops, varieties and products.
Up to 17 members from direct food processing and/or related production support industries;
Up to three (3) members from associated Industry trade organizations;
Up to three (3) members from related finance, legal, technology, and transportation sectors; and
Up to two (2) members representing local economic development organizations.
This Executive Order shall take effect immediately.