Save our family farms

 

 Save our family farms

 

    I am a lifelong resident of Chelan County. I am an owner of one of the nearly 40 cannabis farms Chelan County officials seek to shut down by regulating us out of business. Our farm employs eight to ten of the over 600 people county officials are forcing out of a job. Our farm is two generations of family owned and operated. We have lived in the area of our farm for 27 years. We have great relationships with our neighbors. We have used all our resources, including two full years of our lives without a salary, to build our farm with the American Dream of the opportunity for success. A shutdown of our farm, which the proposed regulations shuts every farm down, would force three members of my family to file for bankruptcy, including myself. We would lose just about everything. It would ruin our credibility and it would turn our world upside down. There are about 40 other farms with similar stories. A shutdown could force 50-100 people into bankruptcy. Chelan County officials approved, permitted and allowed us to build and operate our farms at our locations. Now they are trying to take that away. What does that say of them? Should Chelan County commissioners let a few select people convince them to bankrupt that many honest, hardworking Chelan County residents? Do not forget about the 600 people forced out of a job in the midst of 600 jobs already lost at Alcoa, and more jobs lost at Hastings, Staples and many other local businesses shutting down. Grandfathering existing farms forces no one into bankruptcy. Chelan County is an agricultural community. Along with agriculture comes offsetting smells. We live with it because it is our culture. Everyone understands the gripe, but it is not the only gripe involving agriculture in Chelan County. Chelan County’s Code of the West Pg. 8 Sec. 5.6 states: Agriculture is an important business in Chelan County. If you choose to live among the orchards, farms and ranches of our rural countryside, do not expect county government to intervene in the normal day-to-day operations of your agribusiness neighbors. In fact, Washington has “Right to Farm” legislation that protects farmers and ranchers from nuisance and liability lawsuits. It enables them to continue producing food and fiber. Well, county government is intervening in the normal day-to-day operations of agribusiness neighbors. It is complete hypocrisy.

If you wish to access Chelan County’s Code of the West, here is a link:

https://www.co.chelan.wa.us/files/public-works/documents/code_of_the_wes...

Chelan County commissioners have an important decision to make. One decision ruins the lives of a large group of Chelan County residents. The other ruins the lives of no one. All we farmers ask for is what every entrepreneur asks for: the opportunity to fail or to succeed by our own accord, not to fail by the hands of our county officials. Help Chelan County commissioners make their decision by writing them and voicing your opinion:

    District 1 Commissioner Kevin Overbay:

    kevin.overbay@co.chelan.wa.us

    District 2 Commissioner Keith Goehner:

    keith.goehner@co.chelan.wa.us

    District 3 Commissioner Doug England:

    doug.england@co.chelan.wa.us

    Sincerely,

    John Nelson

    Wenatchee, WA

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