Washington State continues to be a major contributor of agricultural goods to domestic and international markets, ranking 14th nationally. The 1.1 million acres of state trust lands are a sizeable participant in our state’s agricultural economy. The Common School trust is the main beneficiary—which helps fund construction on kindergarten through 12th grade public schools statewide. This funding does not come from taxes. We work with our lessee’s to gain the highest economically feasible return for the lessees and trusts.
For more than 100 years, State Trust lands have been leased for agriculture and grazing by Washington’s Office of the Commissioner of Public Lands, offering opportunities to private farmers and ranchers, orchardists, grape growers, row crop farmers, and more. We work with our lessees to see that appropriate investments are made in the lands to ensure that ecologically sustainable agricultural systems are in place. The result is a balance of long-term capital investments, good stewardship, and prudent lease management that assures optimum income for current and future generations, while providing improved and sustainable habitat.
To accomplish our mission, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) 26 Agricultural Leasing staff manage more than 1,600 contracts which earn in excess of $12 million per year.