Return to common sense farming

As the president of the 1,700 member Snohomish County Farm Bureau, I am responding to Sue Adams’ letter regarding the Right to Plow Initiative. The initiative, which is sponsored by our organization, never claimed that Sue Adams or the Pilchuck Audubon Society endorsed the Right to Plow Initiative. To illustrate the need of this Initiative to distinguish between agricultural activities and development activities, we gave eight reasons, one of which is a public letter Sue Adams wrote to the county. The letter states:

“Firstly and most simply, the county must delineate the differences between plowing and grading. The farming community cannot survive if preparation for planting is equated with development activities. The language in SCC Title 17.05.020(1)(c) needs to be deleted, as this is contrary to policy for the preservation of agricultural land in Snohomish County. Secondly, it makes no sense, nor is it the aim of NMFS to put farmers out of business with code language meant for actual development… However, it is draconian to codify tilling in the same category as development activities”.

We could not have said it better.

Let’s return to common sense. Plowing is not grading. Farming is not development. This initiative applies only to commercial agriculture outside of wetland areas. And only if no other permit is needed. The definition of agricultural activities has been in the code for years in the Right to Farm Section, and yes it includes the farmers’ right to construct and maintain drainage ditches or put gravel on tractor roads, so that he does not get stuck in the mud. Initiative 01-02 is not the end of the world. Neighbors do not need protection from a corn field, and surely, dounty regulators can tell the difference between that and a mini-storage. It is the present code that’s flawed. Vote yes.

Snohomish County Farm Bureau


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