The Council of State Governments - WEST


April 17, 2013

Annual Meeting
Now Open
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July 30 - August 2, 2013

Las Vegas, Nevada

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Upcoming Webinars
Food Safety Modernization Act: Impacts for Farmers, Producers and States
May 2, 2 p.m. EDT
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1107 Ninth St. 
Suite 730
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916.553.4423
Fax: 916.446-5760
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Agriculture and Your State's Economy

Every state has some agricultural production, even Rhode Island with only 1,045 mi2 of land produced $62 million worth of agricultural products in 2011. When compared to California's $43.5 billion in agricultural production it may not sound like much, but it is still an important part of their economy and the total U.S. economy. In 2011 net farm income nationwide reached an all-time high of more than $98 billion and U.S. farm exports totaled $137.4 billion, about 9% of all exports in 2011 were agricultural. Additionally, according to the USDA more than 23 million jobs, which comprise 17 percent of the civilian workforce, are involved in some facet of American agriculture.


The West has a great agricultural heritage that was facilitated by the vast amount of public lands that ranchers were allowed to graze their cattle and make a living. This tradition continues today in states with large amounts of public lands. For example, in Wyoming almost 80% of the livestock income comes from cattle and in Montana it amounts to 96%. However, cattle are only part of the picture of the western agricultural heritage. The west also produces large amounts of fruits, vegetables, and nuts. California produces 100% of the domestic almond supply, and 75% to 80% of worldwide production, while Washington produces 65% of the nation's apples. 


This year Congress will again try to take up an update to the Farm Bill. Last year's attempt to make changes to the bill stalled in the House after passing the Senate. Currently, the Farm Bill is operating on a one-year extension of the existing bill with the hopes that an updated package will be able to pass Congress this year. Congress is trying to come up with an agreement that will reduce the costs of the Farm Bill by $23 billion over the next ten years while addressing issues such as crop insurance and farm subsidies.


How does Agriculture stack up in your state? Click here to see data for your state.

This is the first of a series of short issue briefs that CSG-West will be publishing throughout the year. The issue briefs will cover a variety of topics. If you have a suggestion for a topic, feel free to send your ideas to
Western Legislative Academy 
Application Deadline Approaching

November 13 - 16, 2013

Colorado Springs, CO


Application Deadline:

April 26th


Each year CSG-WEST brings together a distinguished national faculty to offer the West's premier training experience for Western state legislators in their first four years of service. The goals of the Western Legislative Academy (WLA) are to help newer legislators become more effective and to build stronger state legislative institutions. To that end a faculty of outstanding academics, corporate, military and public trainers work with a small class of lawmakers who come from each of our 13 Western states.


Members of the Academy are selected on the basis of their dedication to public service, desire to improve personal legislative effectiveness and commitment to the institution of the legislature. Many WLA graduates go on to leadership positions from caucuses and committees to chamber leadership offices.



Immigration Reform and the States

It appears that the  "gang of eight," a bipartisan group of U.S. senators that has been mulling immigration reform legislation, has reached an agreement and have  introduce it this week. The agreement includes an expansion of work visas and a pathway to citizenship. However, it is unclear if will address the current crisis in unreimbursed state detention costs for aliens who commit crimes on U.S. soil, as well as other potential state costs resulting from new legislation. CSG is carefully watching this issue and will provide an update when it is clearer what is in included in the bill.

Keep Reading:

The mission of CSG-WEST is to facilitate regional, nonpartisan cooperation and exchange of information, and to strengthen legislative institutions among our 13 member states. These services are achieved through a variety of programs and services offered to legislators and their staff, including the convening of policy forums, professional development training, international relations opportunities, publications and institutional links with other political entities in the West.

CSG-WEST serves the Western legislatures of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. Associate members include the Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia and the Pacific islands of American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam.