December 26, 1996 in Washington Voices

Don’t Zone Farmers Out Of Business

Edna Abrams
 

How best to feed our nation is a very serious issue, one that deserves thorough research and very thoughtfully put together plans that take into consideration the many complicated issues involved.

The future of our food supply depends on plans that can succeed, not plans put together only to comply with a set of guidelines as set forth by the Growth Management Act.

The proposed zone change for Peone Prairie is based on research that is incomplete. This has allowed incorrect conclusions to be drawn, leading to inappropriate recommendations being made. The proposed zone change cannot achieve its stated purpose of preserving the agricultural future of this area.

If the committee had actually looked at the land, talked to some of the farmers, bankers, accountants, farm machinery dealers, and the other necessary people who make farming possible, they would have learned that farming is a very complex business and takes a large investment in land, machinery, operating capital, and many hours of hard work.

Unfortunately one of the other facts they would have discovered is that their is no way to preserve Peone Prairie for farming for all the years ahead.

Forty years ago the planning committee had pre-planned the land located on Bruce Road in section 1 as a future park surrounded by many homes. Having gone in this direction these many years, even to allowing the new high school to be placed in our midst, there is no way to go back.

No amount of zoning can keep farmers in business. These requirements would only burden the farmers further and hasten our demise.

The proposed zone change would reduce the farmers’ net worth dramatically and suddenly. It would bankrupt many of us, and rob us of the few choices that are now available. One of those choices is to be able to borrow operation capital when needed.

Allowing the zoning to remain as it is will preserve the stability of the area, and help the farms continue to be productive for as long as possible.

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