OLYMPIA – Gov. Jay Inslee today announced he is appointing Derek Sandison as director of the Washington State Department of Agriculture.
“Our Department of Agriculture helps support a multi-billion industry and works closely with growers, workers, tribes and communities around the state,” Inslee said. “Derek has a successful record of leading on incredibly complex and large-scale projects and brings a commitment to innovation, transparency and collaboration that is exactly what we need to maintain and grow Washington’s world-class agriculture industry.”
Sandison is familiar to many in the agriculture industry through his current work as director of the Wenatchee-based Office of Columbia River in the Washington State Department of Ecology. As OCR director he oversees numerous water supply development projects and related efforts along the Columbia River Basin that are important to farmers and ranchers in the region. He was also a principal architect of the Yakima River Basin Integrated Water Resource Management Plan and has played a key role in other hallmark water supply projects such as the Odessa Ground Water Replacement Project.
Sandison has also been regional director for the Department of Ecology’s Central Region. Based out of Yakima, this region covers seven counties stretching from the Canadian border to Klickitat and Benton counties. Prior to working at Ecology, he co-founded a consulting firm and worked in water supply and waste programs at Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department.
As Director of the state Department of Agriculture, Sandison will oversee an agency with a budget of about $158 million and a staff of 750 that can grow by 200 during the busy harvest season.
With a focus on supporting Washington’s robust and diverse agriculture industry, the agency has a broad range of responsibilities that include protecting plants and livestock from pests and disease, ensuring the movement of agriculture products, managing the use and registration of pesticides, and ensuring the safety of the state’s food supply.
Sandison is replacing Bud Hover who announced his resignation in March. Sandison will begin his new cabinet-level role effective June 15.