Ag News: Washington Wine Grape Crop Report
**Washington’s wine grape crop may have been smaller in 2020, but according to farmers and winemakers, the quality is high.
The Washington State Wine Commission’s annual Grape Production Report showed 178,500 tons of wine grapes were harvested in 2020, an 11% decrease compared to 2019.
But, due to weather extremes and other factors across the state, farmers reported smaller berry size and extended hang time in 2020, which is traditionally a recipe for high quality wines in Washington.
**With the COVID-19 pandemic having passed the one-year mark, farmers and agricultural officials say it has shown the resiliency of the food system.
California State Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross called it “a year of pivots and adaptation.”
California Farm Bureau President Jamie Johansson said farmers remain focused on employee health and feeding communities.
Representatives of grocers and food banks said the past year has brought changes in demand.
**Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced the USDA Forest Service will invest more than $218 million to fund Great American Outdoors Act projects.
Those projects are set up to conserve critical forest and wetland habitat, support rural economic recovery, and increase public access to national forests and grasslands.
The USDA says by leveraging the Land and Water Conservation Fund provided by Congress, this investment will improve public access by funding strategic land acquisitions.