Friday, August 27, 2021 – The Washington State Conservation Commission reported today that on August 26, the Washington State Housing Finance Commission (WSHFC) approved the creation of the Farmland Protection and Affordability Investment (abbreviated as FarmPAI, and pronounced as FARM PIE) program. With initial funding of $7 million, FarmPAI will be a source of financing for the acquisition of land for affordable farmland access and long-term conservation.

The FarmPAI concept was initially raised several years ago at a Farmland Preservation Roundtable meeting. This week’s vote was made possible by many hours of discussion and work by WSHFC, Conservation Commission, Northwest Farm Credit Services, and land trust staff.

Following a motion at the January 2021 Conservation Commission meeting, Director Smith communicated the Conservation Commission’s support for FarmPAI via a letter to the WSHFC leadership. Office of Farmland Preservation Coordinator Kate Delavan spoke about the need for additional farmland protection and affordability tools during the August 26th WSHFC work session. The Commission’s support and offer of partnership was commended by WSHFC Commissioners and staff.

This vote of approval allows the Conservation Commission to continue on with a $2,000,000 supplemental budget request for their agricultural conservation easement account. The supplemental request was crafted in response to the development of the FarmPAI program and, if successful, would serve as a ready and flexible conservation easement funding source.

Source: Washington State Conservation Commission