Flood events, development pressure, loss of processing facilities, and diminished competitive advantages are threatening agriculture in Southwest Washington at a time when the infrastructure necessary to develop alternative markets is not yet available.
In response, a regional producer-owned cooperative has formed in southwestern Washington. The Southwest Washington Growers Cooperative (SW WA Growers Co-op) is committed to working together to support agricultural development in Southwest Washington.
The mission of the SW WA Growers Cooperative is to increase the viability of Southwest Washington family farms through collaborative opportunities in marketing, logistics, and stewardship. The SW WA Growers Co-op is committed to a following this mission, encouraging member engagement, and operating in a transparent manner.
Among the Cooperative’s most notable endeavors are the Southwest Washington Grain Project, and the Southwest Washington Food Hub. Co-op members have collaborated to develop rail transload capacity at the Port of Chehalis , providing the cornerstone for a malting barley program being established with Great Western Malting of Vancouver WA, and an alternative to costly truck transport of regionally produced grains. Co-op members have also worked to establish a regional Food Hub which provides aggregation, transportation, and marketing services to its members.
The SW WA Growers Cooperative currently has 18 members and represents a diverse cross section of western Washington agricultural interests. Since its incorporation in early 2020, the Cooperative has distributed nearly $100,000.00 in producer payments.