Gov. Chris Gregoire has appointed a Republican state lawmaker from Eastern Washington as director of the state Department of Agriculture.

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OLYMPIA — Gov. Chris Gregoire has appointed a Republican state lawmaker from Eastern Washington as director of the state Department of Agriculture.

Rep. Dan Newhouse operates a 600-acre farm in the Sunnyside area, where he grows hops, tree fruit, grapes and alfalfa.

Newhouse is serving his fourth term in the state House. He is a past president of the Hop Growers of Washington and the Hop Growers of America.

Gregoire said Friday that she wants Newhouse to focus on developing international markets for Washington’s farm products.

In 2007, the overall value of agricultural production in Washington was a record $8.51 billion.