Why the Cattlemen and the Farm Bureau are Suing the County

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Ben Elenbaas

Second Vice President, Whatcom County Farm Bureau, and Vice President | Whatcom County Cattlemen’s Association

I submitted a research paper in May of 2014 to finish my degree at Western Washington University. It was titled, “Is Planning and Zoning Helping or Hurting Whatcom County’s Pursuit of Preserving 100,000 Acres of Farm Land?” by Farmer Ben. The points in it remain relevant today (see dissertation in it’s entirety below).

Four years later, two groups I serve as a second vice president and vice president, respectively—the Whatcom County Farm Bureau and the Whatcom County Cattlemen’s Association—have filed a lawsuit against Whatcom County in response to the recent Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO) update.

The Farm Bureau has taken the position that the CAO, as passed by the Whatcom County Council, is not compliant with the state’s Growth Management Act (GMA). We feel strongly that their version of the CAO is detrimental to the future of food and fiber production in Whatcom County, threatening the agricultural industry to the point of destroying our vital ag economy.

Farm land is just farm land without farmers. And, the high cost of regulations could cause many farmers to go out of business. The general purpose of protecting resource lands is to benefit all the citizens of the county.

Farmers historically have been the best stewards of Whatcom County’s agricultural lands for more than 100 years. I’m a fourth-generation farmer here, for example. We farmers have proven a desire to continue to care for the land in a way that’s mutually beneficial to both soil and water health, as well as to preserve habitat and allow wildlife to flourish.

We’re not like a Third World country. We’re lucky we actually are in a position to care about the environment, and we do. Protecting the environment is somewhat of a luxury; environmental compliance is not something Third World countries do. They worry about surviving first, then they manage their resources. In countries that aren’t producing enough food, they’re not worried about where their runoff’s going. They’re worried about surviving.

A vibrant ag economy is essential to keeping environmental stewardship in the forefront of everyone’s mind. The bottom line is, the bills need to be paid or we won’t have farmers left to manage the agricultural resource lands that the GMA seeks to protect. Some say that is exactly the outcome some of the environmental activist groups seek, and they seem to be using county government, county ordinances, and manipulation of state law to implement their goals.

Whatcom County Farm Bureau believes, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the best way to achieve environmental health in the ag lands is to foster a vibrant, healthy agricultural economy. My personal feeling (not the Farm Bureau’s), as a producer of registered black Angus livestock in the Nooksack Valley south of Lynden, is that many of the people who write planning and zoning regulations, including writers of the CAO, would rather not have any hooved animals in Whatcom County.

Frankly, a lot of local government regulations just make you scratch your head and wonder. Regulations place the burden on the farmers to prove that they’re not hurting water quality. Instead, farmers should be able to implement best management practices as they see fit, practices that have kept Whatcom counties farmlands productive and healthy for well over 100 years, without local government telling us how to do it—until they can prove we’re causing harm to the land and water. A bureaucrat is not the best person to tell us how to farm our land.

We certainly don’t want to protect anyone who’s doing things wrong. But a common belief among county farmers is that the new CAO will both harm our ability to farm and do nothing additional to protect Critical Areas. Farm Bureau believes that challenging the CAO, as passed, is the best way for Whatcom County farmers to continue to steward and maintain our valuable resource lands and the Critical Areas within them.

The farm community has not been as well represented on these issues as the environmental-activist community. That’s why the Farm Bureau allocated resources, hired a lawyer, and has made sure that more farmers attend public meetings to speak to best practices.

We in the ag community have presented workable solutions. Recent studies have shown that the finger may have been pointed unfairly at just the farmers. Wherever we need responsibility taken, the ag community has proven that we are more than willing to step up to the plate. Additional restrictions do nothing but threaten the ag economy.

Over-regulation hurts big producers, but virtually destroys the small producer. There’s no good reason to put more regulations on us while there’s continued improvement in our best practices. We’re providing benefits to water quality, shellfish, salmon, etc.,—and science shows it’s working. The science doesn’t point to a need to increase regulations and take away property rights from people that in some cases have been caring for their land since it was cleared and converted to farmland. We’re doing a fine job as it is.

The goal of the Farm Bureau, the Cattlemen’s Association, and other supportive ag groups is to find workable solutions for the good of everybody at the table—rather than have to rely on the lawsuit for relief. The County wants to hear more from us, and we’re working with its staff and lawyers toward workable solutions and an agreement. Talks have been friendly and productive recently. It’s just disappointing that the Ag community was forced to go to this legal extreme to have an equal voice with local government. 


 

 

 

 

 

Here’s the content of my dissertation in 2014:

Is Planning and Zoning Helping or Hurting Whatcom County’s
Pursuit
of Preserving 100,000 Acres of Farm Land?

By “Farmer Ben” Elenbaas

ENVS 306, Professor Mayer, May 30, 2014

The other day while on a break from driving my tractor, I was reading an issue of Acres USA, The Voice of Eco-Agriculture. It is a national monthly publication that focuses on, as the name implies, agricultural issues specific to natural/organic/ecologically friendly farmers. I was particularly drawn in by the opinion article in the front of the magazine written by Martin Harris, a freelance writer and Dairy replacement heifer farmer. The piece was titled, “Planning and Zoning Fails to Embrace Mini-Ag.”   Harris noted the extraordinary growth in the mini- farm ag sector referring to it as “new agriculture,” he described it as, “typically small acreage, niche-market, organic in sense” and boldly states that one would expect, “the planning and zoning fraternities and bureaucracies to be tweaking their land-use design standards and enabling regulations,” (Harris, 4) that enhance the viability of “new agriculture”, but in some states the opposite seems to be happening. “It would be no exaggeration to observe that the entire “Smart Growth” movement…seems to reject the mini-farm pattern almost entirely.” (Harris, 4) He goes on to give examples of how planning and zoning regulations such as minimum lot size, prohibition of non-government inspected food sources, and maximizing property tax revenue have an immediate effect on the viability of agriculture in a given area. (Harris, 4) As a fifth generation Whatcom County farmer and current member of the Whatcom County Planning Commission, naturally this article stirred up some questions in my mind. It is well documented that Whatcom County is intent on preserving 100,000 acres of land to sustain a viable agriculture economy. This goal is being carried out through public policies such as minimum lot sizes, Transfer of Development Rights, the Critical Areas Ordinance and other land use regulations in the Agricultural zone of Whatcom County. This article made me ponder the question, is Whatcom County’s planning and zoning helping or hurting its pursuit of preserving 100,000 acres of farm land?

Title 16.16 of the Whatcom County Code is called the Critical Areas Ordinance. The purpose of the CAO is to “Protect wetlands, floodplains, critical aquifer recharge areas, and habitat conservation areas by applying the Best Available Science to ensure no net loss of ecological functions and values. Protect species listed as threatened or endangered and their habitats.” The county has adopted the CAO under the authority of RCW 36.70 and 36.70A, otherwise known as the Growth Management Act. (WCC, 16.16) A visit to the county’s website gives even more background information:

“In response to concerns regarding rapid growth occurring in the State of Washington, the Washington State Legislature passed the Growth Management Act (RCW 36.70A) in 1990. The Growth Management Act (GMA) required counties and cities to adopt comprehensive land use plans and development regulations to coordinate and manage growth and development, as well as protect the State’s natural resources and critical areas. After several years of development, study and public input, the Whatcom County Council adopted the Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan in May 1997 and the Whatcom County Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO), WCC Chapter 16.16, in October 1997. Under the provisions of the GMA, local jurisdictions must designate and manage regulated critical areas. Development activities within, or adjacent to, these critical areas, are required to comply with the provisions of local critical areas ordinances.

The Whatcom County PDS Department is the primary agency responsible for implementing the Whatcom County Critical Areas Ordinance. The provisions of the CAO apply to any land use or development within an area that meets the definitions and criteria for critical areas as established in the ordinance.” (www.co.whatcom.wa.us)

It is important to note that the Whatcom County Critical Areas Ordinance is specific to Whatcom County, even though it is a mandate of the State. Different municipalities throughout the state comply with state law in different ways. The point of the GMA is to make land use decisions on a local level. So what does all this mean to Whatcom County farmers? Nothing, as long as your farm does not fall into a critical area. Remember a critical area is either a critical aquifer recharge area, a wetland, a geologically hazardous area, a frequently flooded area, or a Fish and wildlife habitat conservation area, which includes all fish bearing streams. (WCC, 16.16.800) It is safe to assume based on this definition and looking at the CAO maps supplied by Whatcom County PDS staff almost every parcel in Whatcom County’s Ag zone could be classified as having a critical area on or around it which would then subject it to the provisions of title 16.16. The CAO does not disallow farming practices, “ongoing agriculture activities shall be permitted within critical areas and/or their buffers in accordance with the standards of this chapter or pursuant to an approved conservation program established by this section. This program shall be subject to continued monitoring and adaptive management to ensure that it meets the purpose and intent of this chapter,” (WCC, 16.16.290) As long as a farmer is willing to adhere to a strict farm plan which severely limits the farms ability to make land use decision that help protect the farms ability to remain an agricultural endeavor. “Farm conservation plans shall be subject to county review, approval, monitoring, adaptive management, and enforcement…the technical administrator shall review and approve the farm conservation plan… The technical administrator and/or the farm operator shall monitor plan implementation and compliance… Agricultural operations shall cease to be in compliance with this section when the technical administrator determines that any of the following has occurred…” (WCC, 16.16 Appendix A) a list too numerous to list. The penalty for non-compliance can be stiff. “Any person who violates any of the provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of a civil offense and may be fined a sum not to exceed $1,000 for each offense. After a notice of violation has been given, each day of site work in conjunction with the notice of violation shall constitute a separate offense.”( WCC, 16.16.285)

I know a Whatcom County farmer whose property is adjacent to a fish bearing stream, as is the case with most Whatcom County farms. The farm comprised roughly 100 acres. The farmer was properly notified by the county that he either needed to remove his 10 cows from his land, which was zoned Ag, or face a $1,000 a day fine per animal, citing the critical areas ordinance. So the farmer was faced with a choice, $10,000 a day fine, implement a farm conservation plan, or quite farming. At first, the operator chose to implement a farm plan. The technical administrator laid out the conservation plan for the farmer over the coming weeks and when the plan was finished and all the required setbacks per WCC 16.16 where implemented the farmer was left with 13 acres of land that was not “protected.” The setback for a fish bearing stream as prescribed in section 16.16.740 is 100 feet and up to 150 feet if the stream is a shoreline stream as was the case in this instance. The setbacks for wetlands can be up to 300 feet. The farmer was forced to sell his cows instead of enduring the economic hardship of accepting a farm plan that did nothing but destroy his farm. One of the goals of the CAO is to, “Protect property rights, while allowing for economic development including agriculture.” (WCC, 16.16) It is assumed that this is where the best available science plays a vital role. However a quick google search illustrates that best available science for neighboring counties and other states throughout the western United States is highly variable as evidenced by the differing mandates in regards to critical area buffers. A recent study by Washington State University acknowledges, “Riparian buffers are widely considered to be a good land stewardship practice because of their ability to reduce agriculture-related non-point pollution.” It continues, “The performance and effectiveness of buffers is highly variable and site specific.” (Kallestad) This could account for the variability in CAO ordinances throughout the west. When faced with choosing Whatcom County as the location of a viable farming operation, no doubt WCC 16.16 Critical Areas Ordinance will play a role in that decision making process. This is particularly true for farming operations that are dependent on livestock production, like the dairy industry.

According to a 2013 study by Washington State University School of Economic Sciences, “the combined total economic contribution of Washington States dairy industry is about $5.201 Billion.” (Neibergs, 14) This is clearly a staggering number and worthy of mention when addressing significant contributors to Washington State’s economy. In fact, Washington has long been a national leader in milk production ranking number 11 in the nation in cow numbers and has historically been ranked either number one or number 2 in the nation in milk production per cow. With a 2011 average of 23,727 lbs. of milk production ranking Washington number one according to the USDA. (Neibergs, 1) Clearly this indicates our states suitability for the dairy industry. Happy cows do not come from California. Happy cows come from Washington State.

The same economic survey as mentioned above sights, “Whatcom County is the leading West side dairy county and has twenty percent of the States dairy production.” (Neibergs, 4) One could reason then, that if 20 percent of the State’s dairy cattle reside in Whatcom County, then 20 percent of 5 billion dollars would mean that Whatcom counties dairy sector is contributing more than 1 billion dollars to the state’s economy.   With that kind of an economic driver situated in our Ag lands it is no wonder that citizens of Whatcom County are eager to protect our Ag lands as evidenced by a 2009 resolution 2009-040, “Declaring the County Council’s goals for farmland preservation, its priorities for consideration and adoption of policies to further farmland preservation, and requesting the county administration to allocate staff support to accommodate this important policy initiative…whereas, agriculture is a major industry in Whatcom County…agriculture requires sufficient land, suppliers, services, and other agricultural infrastructure to be successful…the county has identified 100,000 acres as being the minimum acreage needed to sustain successful long term agriculture in Whatcom County.” (Resolution, 2009-40)

However the number of dairy cattle in Whatcom County has been trending down in recent years. According to the WSU survey, since 2006 Whatcom County is down 2% of its dairy herd. (Neibergs, 1)The 2012 Census of Agriculture paints an even bleaker picture. When comparing the 2007 census figures with the 2012 census figures just released in May of 2014, Whatcom County has lost even more cattle than reported by WSU’s economic report. In fact, since 1992, two years after the enactment of Washington State’s growth management act, it was reported that Whatcom County was the home to 62,370 milk cows. That number shrank to 61,457 ten years later in 2002. By 2007, that number shrank to 48,866 and by the publishing of the 2012 Ag census data, dairy cow numbers in Whatcom County had shrunk to 45,562.   The 2012 numbers show an almost 30 percent drop in number of dairy cows in Whatcom County over the last 20 years. So if the dairy industry is such an economic driver in the state and county, and it has been identified by local government as such and therefore has been made a policy priority, then why are we losing so much of our dairy industry in Whatcom County? Could it be that the policies brought forth by local politicians and agricultural advocacy groups have been missing the mark? Could it be that land use policies are driving out the dairy industry in Whatcom County instead of the market place?

Currently we have approximately 88,000 acres of land zoned Agriculture in Whatcom County. The purpose of the Agriculture district as stated in title 20.40 of the Whatcom County Code is to, “preserve, enhance, and support the production of food and fiber in Whatcom County.” The 2012 Ag census shows that we currently have 115,831 acres in farm production. So where is the extra approximately 28,000 acres of agriculture coming from? The answer is clear. We have a lot of farming occurring in our Rural districts. The purpose of the Rural element of our comprehensive plan is to, “maintain the low density rural residential character of the areas designated as rural and rural neighborhood.” (WCC, 20.36) Basically, the purpose of the rural district is rural living. The minimum lot size in the Ag zone is 40 acres. The minimum lot size in the rural areas varies, however the vast majority of lots are 5 acres in size ranging to as large as 10 acres. In the 2007 Ag census it was reported that 102,584 acres of Whatcom County land was in farms and remember that now we have 115,831 acres in farms just 5 years later. The median farm size in Whatcom County is 16 acres, clearly well below the minimum lot size in the Ag zone. Of the 1702 farms in the county 1271 of them are 49 acres or less with 578 of those being 9 acres or less, which goes to show that there is a lot of farming happening on either non-conforming lots in the Ag zone or on the smaller lot sizes that are available in the rural zone. According to Jean Melious a land use and environmental lawyer and a professor at Western Washington University, on her blog Get Whatcom Planning, “the issue of residential development in agricultural land is an issue of great urgency.” In another post she states, “It is a legacy that could seriously threaten the viability of our agricultural economy as significant loss of farmland could take place and/or conflicts with agricultural uses would be created.” Implying that somehow farming is incompatible with rural living or conversely rural living is incompatible with the production of food. Melious states, “Whatcom County has a chance to address this issue in its upcoming Comprehensive Plan update. It could revise its zoning code and provide some protection to Ag uses…I think that we elected a new County Council in hopes that there would be a welcome return to leadership…in regards to the protection of agricultural lands. Will the County do what it takes? Ken Mann (Whatcom County Councilman) has proposed a Transfer of Development Rights program to remove development rights from agricultural land. Does the Council have the technical support, the money, and the backbone to make it work?” (Melious)

If agriculture is incompatible with residential uses then why has a large portion of the growth in the Ag sector occurred in the rural zone where rural living is the primary use? Why is it so important to “protect” farm land with programs such as Transfer of Development Rights when it seems that farming and rural living coexist and thrive in Whatcom County? It can be assumed based on data from the 2012 Ag census that a large portion of the smaller acreage farms are organic. According to a recent Bellingham Herald article, “certified organic product sales grew substantially in Whatcom County. The report indicates organic sales totaled $13.4 million in 2012, up from $4.1 million in 2007. The agriculture census numbers suggest a change is taking place in the size of farms in Whatcom County. Between 2007 and 2012 the number of small farms (selling less than $10,000 in product a year) increased 23.8 percent…while the number of large farms (selling more than $250,000 in products a year) declined 10.3 percent. The growth of the small farms can be seen at the local farmers’ markets as well as small stores and restaurants. The opportunity is there for the small farms to grow into mid-size farms to serve larger regional customers, such as grocery stores and hospitals.” (Gallagher, 2014) This type of trend seems to challenge the long standing notion that bigger is better or that the only way to “protect” Ag lands is in removing their development rights and preserving the land in large parcels. Data like this makes one question whether the 40 acre minimum lot size in the Ag zone is counter-productive too, “sustain successful long-term agriculture in Whatcom County.” (Resolution, 2009-040)

Farm land in Whatcom County is designated mostly by soil type. The soils that dominate our Ag lands are classified as prime or prime if drained. An acre of prime soils with water rights in Whatcom County sells for upwards of $20,000. This means that buying the smallest conforming lot in the Ag zone, which is 40 acres, will cost roughly $800,000. This is a staggering number for most individuals looking at starting or expanding their farming operations. With the average principle operator (farmer) in Whatcom County at 57.4 years old (USDA, 2012) it could stand to reason that over the next few years there will be a large turnover of farm land to the next generation of farmers. Assuming that most people aren’t sitting on a million dollars, financing will be a necessity to purchase the land. Good thing the local USDA extension office has programs to help farmers purchase farm land…or do they? With 1032 principle operators out of 1702 total, reporting off farm work in 2012, it is safe to assume that most farmers need to have another job in order to help supplement their farm income. This fact disqualifies most farmers from qualifying for USDA loans. Another criteria that can be difficult to meet for a beginning farmer is that they would have either had to graduate from a university or technical college that focused on agriculture or have 3 years of schedule F’s filed with the IRS. Without these two items, one would not qualify for the USDA funding. The USDA programs are also not offered for farmers looking to refinance. This leaves more traditional banks as the only option. One would assume that going to a bank that offered Ag lending as their primary service, getting a loan for farm land would not be a problem. One would be mistaken. Even banks such as Northwest Farm Credit Services have limits on the amount of farm income that can be generated from financed property. When inquiring about a farm loan on my 40 acre parcel in the Ag district I was told I would not qualify because our farming operation generated over $50,000 of farm income from our parcel. So a farmer can’t get a USDA loan if they have an off farm job, and then they can’t get a loan from a farm credit agency for farm land because they generated too much farm income from the farm land? This leaves a traditional type bank as an aspiring farmer’s best bet. When enquiring about financing options on a 40 acre parcel in the Ag Zone of Whatcom County at Banner Bank in Lynden, one will quickly find that traditional financing is not an option as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will not offer saleable loans on any parcel greater than 19.99 acres. Again this brings to question the ability of the 40 acre minimum lot size to, “preserve, enhance and support the production of food and fiber in Whatcom County, to maintain a sufficiently large agricultural land base to ensure a viable agriculture industry and to maintain the economic feasibility of supporting services.” (WCC, 20.40) How is the next generation of farmers in Whatcom County going to acquire the land base for their farming operations with barriers to entry that are confounded by county code that is contrary to banking practices both in the public and private sector?

One of the only saving graces for a farming operation can be the value that their land holds because of their primary residents, AKA the parcels development right. Some banks are willing to loan money if the parcel has resale value that far exceeds the liability on the property based on the value of the home. The bank will then hold that note in house so it does not have to fit into the federal standards set forth by Fannie and Freddie. However, with lawmakers and agricultural advocacy groups as well as environmental advocacy groups mandating the need to move these development rights out of the Ag district to preserve the farmland from the incompatible use that is rural living, it further confounds the ability of the next generation of farmers to produce food and fiber in Whatcom County. In 2012, 1439 farmers out of 1702 made their primary residence on their farms. Living off the farm is not an option to most farmers as farming tends to be a round the clock proposition. This especially rings true for the livestock producer as cattle don’t wait for business hours to, give birth, break fences, or get milked.

Speaking of the cattle industry let’s look at another peculiarity that is the Whatcom County Code as it pertains to enhancing the agriculture economy in Whatcom County. We have established that the dairy industry is a driving force in Washington, but let’s look at the cattle industry as a whole, to include beef cattle. When analyzing the 2012 Ag census numbers one will notice that roughly ¼ of the Ag economy in Western Washington is generated in Whatcom County in regards to farm gate sales, 67 percent of which is from the livestock industry alone. In 2007, there where almost 96,000 head of cattle in Whatcom County. This number is dominated by the dairy herd, but beef production in Whatcom County has been historically strong. It is a known fact that a dairy cow’s productive life is only so long, and when she no longer produces enough milk to pay for her groceries she is sent off to meet the fate that her beef cattle cousins meet at an earlier age. Given these facts, it comes as a surprise to most people that virtually nowhere in Whatcom County is it zoned to have a meat packinghouse. The only place that packinghouses are allowed in the current code is in the RIM zone or Heavy Industrial. Heavy Industrial property is not economically viable to support a small margin business such as animal slaughter as that zone is typically reserved for higher margin uses like oil refining. The RIM zone is not an option either and here is why. RIM stands for Rural Industrial Manufacturing. The RIM zones are all considered LAMIRDs by the Washington State growth management act. LAMIRD, Limited Areas of More Intensive Rural Development. The only uses allowed in a LAMIRD are uses that existed on the size, scale and intensity of pre 1990 uses. 1990 was the adoption of the state growth management act. As one can imagine there were no meat packinghouses in any of Whatcom Counties RIM zones prior to 1990, so there cannot be any now per state law. (RCW 36.70A) The county code allows for them in the RIM zone, but state law makes it a non-permitted use. So the strong economic data associated with livestock production in Whatcom County is there without capturing the benefit of the harvest of the animal, the processing of the carcass and the distribution of the locally raised meat. Imagine the economic boost that could be realized if the county code allowed for the harvesting of locally raised meats. Recently an ordinance was passed that would define meat packinghouses as an accessory use in the Ag district in Whatcom County allowing some capacity to process the tens of thousands of animals that are market ready each year in Whatcom County, clearly a welcome change to the county code that would greatly benefit the long term viability of agriculture in Whatcom County. Not so fast. The ordinance was challenged in court and pulled off the shelf by the county council after public outcry from environmental groups and concerned citizens citing things such as cholera outbreaks, rivers running red with blood and bad karma to name a few. (www.friendsofwhatcom.com)

The County’s comprehensive plan lays out a plan for preserving a large enough land base to sustain a viable Ag economy that is summed up with this paragraph; it even calls out meat processors by name. It reads:

The viability of an agricultural resource economy is dependent upon the presence of certain agriculture related industries and activities. These include processors (for example, fruit and vegetable packers and milk processors in Whatcom County), farm implement sales and repair, fertilizer and pesticide suppliers, trucking firms, certified meat inspectors and processors, a pool of farm labor, etc. These activities, in turn depend on a stable (or expanding) agricultural products economy which is in turn dependent on maintaining a stable agricultural resource land base. If agricultural production is reduced below a certain level in a given geographical area, then it becomes no longer economical for the agriculture related activities to remain in that area. Loss of these support industries results in further reduction and conversion of the agricultural land base and an accelerating downward spiral for the local agricultural economy. (WCCP, 8)

Yet at the time of this writing there is not a workable ordinance to bring the local supply of animals to the local demand for food. There are 203,000 people in Whatcom County and the average American eats 66 lbs. of beef a year. This does not include pork or lamb. There is a huge amount of local demand that is currently not even close to being providing for. The size and scale of agriculture in Whatcom County is world class, yet we don’t have a processing facility, or zoning for it, that can handle the supply of locally raised animals that could make Whatcom County a leader in humanely raised, humanely processed, local meats, something that Whatcom County has the potential to be but is just lacking in infrastructure. The cattle are here, the demand for local food is here, we just have no way to connect them. This is an interesting fact since the community as a whole, is a community that strives for sustainability and prides itself in its local flavor.

There seems to be a large disconnect between the goal of preserving agriculture in Whatcom County and the ways in which to do it. Are planning and zoning ordinance helping or hurting our long term goal of preserving 100,000 acres of farm land in Whatcom County? From this Whatcom County farmer’s prospective, that is a question I don’t take lightly. Farming is not typically just ones occupation. Farming tends to be a way of life, and my way of life depends on the answer to that question.

 

Works Cited

Harris, Martin. “Planning and Zoning Fails to Embrace Mini-AG.” Opinion. ACRES USA The Voice of Eco-Agriculture. Sept. 2012 Vol.42 No.9

Unknown author. http://www.co.whatcom.wa.us/pds/naturalresources/criticalareas/index.jsp May 30,       2014.

Kallestad, Jeff. “Clarks Creek Experimental Riparian Buffers: Monitoring, Function, and Implications for Agriculture” http://puyallup.wsu.edu/agbuffers/pdf/Clarks_Creek_Web_page.pdf

Whatcom County Code. Title 16.16 Critical Areas.           http://www.codepublishing.com/wa/whatcomcounty/frameless/index.pl?path=../html/Whatco                  16/Whatco1616.html#16.16

Washington State. Revised Code of Washington 36.70A. Growth Management Act        http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=36.70A

Washington State. Revised Code of Wahington 36.70. Planning Enabling Act. http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=36.70

Neibergs, J. Shannon. , Michael Brady. 2011 Economic Contribution Analysis of Washington Dairy Farms and Dairy Processing: An Input-Output Analysis. Washington State University. School of Economic Sciences. May 2013

Whatcom County. Whatcom County Council Agenda Bill AB2009-040. July 7, 2009

United States Department of Agriculture. National Agriculture Statistics Services. 2012 Census of Agriculture.

United States Department of Agriculture. National Agriculture Statistics Services. 2007 Census of Agriculture.

United States Department of Agriculture. National Agriculture Statistics Services. 2002 Census of Agriculture.

United States Department of Agriculture. National Agriculture Statistics Services. 1992 Census of Agriculture.

Gallagher, Dave. “Whatcom County agriculture prospering with dairy, berries leading way.” Bellingham Herald. May 11, 2014.

Melious, Jean. “Whatcom County Leadership Needed to Protect Water Resources and Agricultural Land.” http://getwhatcomplanning.blogspot.com/search/label/Agriculture March 16, 2014

Whatcom County Code Title 20 Zoning.                  http://www.codepublishing.com/wa/whatcomcounty/frameless/index.pl?path=../html/whatco20/whatco20.html

Unknown Author. http://www.friendsofwhatcom.com/ Protecting Quality of Life In and Around Whatcom County.

Whatcom County. Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan.         http://www.co.whatcom.wa.us/pds/plan/lr/compplan/current.jsp

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