Background Letters to the Whatcom County

The letters below are from Whatcom County public records that express personal experiances and concerns of your rural neighbors in Whatcom County. CAPR neither approves, disapproves or endorses these views and the content of these letters is provided as background information for the reader only.


 

3D Diamond (1K)

 

 

In a message dated 9/17/2009 11:20:24 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time, [email protected] writes:

 

"Kim Schnackenberg" 9/17/2009 9:41 AM >>>

Randy & Kim Schnackenberg

2357 Brown Rd

Ferndale, WA 98248

 

Date: September 17, 2009

Whatcom County Planning Commission

c/o Whatcom County Planning Department

5280 Northwest Drive

Bellingham, Washington 98226

 

RE: Urban Growth Area Proposal

 

Commission Members:

My address is given above. We own property with the Parcel Number of 390207 181257 0000

.

We are concerned that the changes under the current UGA proposal will adversely impact my property, its value, future use and my taxes. I urge you to retain the existing boundaries until a better study of the issue and more realistic growth projections can be used.

 

With the zoning adversities at hand, I find it quite difficult to work with the Whatcom County Planning Commission and the Whatcom County Conservation District as the left hand is apparently not talking with the right hand. We own a small hobby farm on the parcel number listed above which is currently zoned UGA 5. Whatcom County would like to change it from the UGA5 to a UGA10, and to have us in the Ferndale's City "Reserve". We have been harassed by the Whatcom County Conservation District (to be referred as the "WCCD") about the 7 horses we currently breed, raise, train, show and give lessons to the youth...and troubled youth. Our horses have made national headlines with numerous Regional Championships as well as a National Championship, articles have been written about our horses in Regional and National publications. We have brought amazing highlights to the Pacific Northwest.

 

 

The WCCD has informed us that we may receive up to a $1,000/day fine if we do not comply on getting a Farm Plan put in place. When we asked the Planning Commission about the issue, they inform us that it is untrue. We have neighbors who have tried to get building permits, but had to have a "Farm Plan" put into effect before the Whatcom County Planning Commission would issue the building permit. Clearly these two departments are not communicating clearly with each other, or, are they?

 

 

What does the "Land Grab Areas" and the "Farm Plan" have to do with each other you ask?

 

 

Whatcom County Planning Commission has stated that they would like to preserve the Agriculture/farmland. The Whatcom County Conservation District is trying to enforce "Farm Plans" on all farms. When the question was posed "what do you consider a farm?", the question was answered by George Boggs, District Coordinator: "If you have one goat, or one sheep, or one pig, or one cow, or one horse, or one llama, etc. that considers you a farm. ALL farms will HAVE to have a Farm Plan and it will cost you $XXXX a year...." At this rate, Whatcom County will not have sustainable farmers to the hobby farms, with all the "Agricultural Land Preservation" Whatcom County is trying Zone...because the farmers will be discouraged, disgruntled, and financially ruined.

 

 

Commissioners, Council Members, Legislators, Senator, we urge you to assist the people who bring you your milk, produce, steaks, poultry.

 

 

Sincerely,

 

Randy & Kim Schnackenberg

 

 

 

3D Diamond (1K)

 

 

Randy and Kim,

 

 

From: [email protected] [mailto:[email protected]]

Sent: Thursday, October 01, 2009 12:06 AM

To: [email protected]

Cc: [email protected]

Subject: Re: Urban Growth Areas - Whatcom County "Land Grab Areas"

 

Randy and Kim,

Thank you so much for sharing what many farmers are feeling at this time. I don't believe the farm plan was meant to be so restrictive and destructive to farmers. But I have spoken to many farmers who have had the same difficulties you mentioned.

I think it is very important for other farmers, commercial or hobby, to contact the council with their complaints. I have encouraged others to do so but so far you are one of the few that has commented to the full council.

Since people are considered a "farm" with a few animals on 5 acres I don't believe it is necessary to downzone to 10 acres to create "farmland".

Barbara Brenner, Whatcom County Council Member

 

 

 

3D Diamond (1K)

 

Dear Ms. Brenner,

Thank you for responding to me email. You are the only one that has taken the time out of your busy day to respond to my issues at hand, and for that, I am grateful and find this to be quite a focus of your concern.

Since the Email of September 17, 2009 I sent to you, We are now being required to do a “Farm Plan” as we have applied for an “Accessory Dwelling Unit” for my husband’s elderly parents to build a small dwelling here on our property so we may care for them in their last years. We are a strong all American family with strong family values, and, believe that taking care of our parents in their latter years is a privilege. My husband and I are a 4th and 5th Whatcom County generation. My family settled the Point Whitehorn area before Arco was built on my great-great grandparents homesteaded farm. Our roots are deep in this county and are quite strong.

The reason why: my husband’s elderly parents will be building on our property is because Ferndale rezoned my husband’s parents property (in Ferndale City Limits) and they can not build a single family dwelling structure as it has to be an apartment complex. They do not have the funds to build such an extravagant expense in their latter years of life, nor do they need the stress.

Ms. Elke Daugherty will be here on Tuesday to “Inspect” our property for a Farm Plan to be forced on us. Mind you, we do not live near a Salmon bearing stream, other than a Whatcom County Ditch. So, we are stuck, trying to provide for our parents and are FORCED into a Farm Plan by the Whatcom County Planning Commission, or we will not be able to obtain a building permit. This is a “BULLYING” tactic, I don’t like bullies, and…I’m tenacious enough to stand up to bullies. We will be exercising our options to the fullest extent.

Below are public comments that have been expressed by VOTING Whatcom County residence in opposition of the issues I am concerned with. As you will note that on September 17, there are 47 public comments out of the 300 + people that attended that executive meeting.

In the meeting, Mr. David Stalheim openly stated that Farm Plans are not being enforced.

The 4-H & FFA communities have clearly expressed their concerns at the Agricultural Advisory Committee meeting in Lynden in August of 2009. Not only will the Farm Plans deter the kids from participating in such a great youth plan, but it also gives the parents a negative impact. FFA stands for “Future Farmers of America”, if Whatcom County does not support this, we will not have any Future Farmers of America in our near Future.

Parents have a hard enough time trying to kee It will be the “focus of my concern” and I plan on bringing as much attention to this matter as possible. We have contacted FarmAID and they are very interested on what the outcome will be on this issue at hand, as this does affect the average American farmers.p their kids involved in other extra-curricular activities. I have always expressed to the parents that keeping kids riding horses is cheaper and healthier than a drug re-habilitation facility.

I apologize for jumping around on so many subjects, however, you may see between the lines the frustration of ALL community farmers at hand.

I have marked my property on the map below as a RED oval Dot. As you can clearly seek, We are not in the Watershed boundaries at hand.

On The map below, I have outlined our property in GREEN…This is our Current R(5) zone in Ferndale’s UGA

Map 3-1 (362K)

I have checked the following maps: Our property is not in any of these critical areas AND should not even be a property in question at this point.

Map 3-2 (560K)

C.A.O. – Critical Areas Ordinance

Geologically Hazardous Areas

Frequently Flooded Areas

Critical Aquifier Recharge Areas

Wetlands

Habitat Conservation Areas

Salmonid Fish Habitat Conservation Areas

NEW SHORELINE Maps

New Shoreline Areas Designations

 

 

3D Diamond (1K)

 

 

 

From: George Boggs [mailto:[email protected]]

 

Sent: Thursday, October 08, 2009 2:48 PM

To: [email protected]

Subject: Please let me Correct the Record

 

Good afternoon Mrs. Schnackenberg :

 

 

The message thread below was passed on to me. Please allow me, the manager of the Whatcom Conservation District, to clear up some misconceptions under which you seem to be laboring.

 

 

First, You state below that "We have been harassed by the Whatcom County Conservation District (to be referred as the "WCCD") about the 7 horses we currently breed, raise, train, show and give lessons to the youth...and troubled youth." I talked to staff. None have had any contact with you. Our small farm planner, Chuck Timblin, was contacted recently by your engineer, Mr. Eric Weden. Chuck provided Mr. Weden information on farm planning and offered to help prepare a farm plan. All that was needed was for you to call and schedule an appointment for a farm inventory

 

 

 

I looked in our files and saw that Mark Ockey, a former employee, went to your farm and started developing a farm plan in 2003. However, he went on to other work in January of 2004. This left us without a small farm planner for some time. The file is silent as to whether or not you asked for any help after that date. Regardless, if you are referring to anything he did, it is more than a little late for me to do any thing to rectify that situation. If you are referring to something that has happened more recently, then you it must be someone else's employee who is "harassing" you.

 

 

 

Please know that you and the other residents of Whatcom County are the most important persons to our business. If any district employee has treated you or anyone you know with anything other than politeness and respect, I am the one who should be called immediately. I will take appropriate action. My contact information follows below.

 

 

Second, you state that "The WCCD has informed us that we may receive up to a $1,000/day fine if we do not comply on getting a Farm Plan put in place." Please note that the Whatcom Conservation District is non regulatory. We have no authority to assess a penalty or levy a fine. While we are knowledgeable about a multitude of federal, state and local regulations and would share information about potential liability with landowners when relevant and in the context of conducting an inventory, we would never threaten consequences. It is simply not what we do.

 

 

Third, the Whatcom Conservation District in NOT a department of Whatcom County. It is separate and distinct local government. It has a contract to provide technical assistance at no charge to landowners who ask us to help them develop or implement a farm plan. If we helped you prepare a farm plan it is confidential to you. It is exempt from public a public records request. So, neither the County nor a third party could obtain a copy without your permission.

 

 

Fourth, farm plans are NOT mandated by the Whatcom County Critical Areas Ordinance. It is an OPTIONAL alternative means of compliance. If requested by the landowner, we would meet on site, complete a checklist and review the recommended best management practices to protect water quality. By adopting these best management practices, it is possible in most instances to reduce the wide buffers mandated by the Critical Areas Ordinance. One of the most effective methods to protect water quality (because manure has pathogens that make people and livestock sick) is pasture management.

 

 

Here is a link to the Livestock and Poultry Environmental Center ( http://pubwiki.extension.org/mediawiki/files/8/8b/09oct_flyer.pdf ) of which Joe Harrison of Washington State University, is a contributing scientist. On October 16th, at 11:30 am there will be an educational web-cast on Grazing Management for Water Quality Protection. If you go to that web page you will read: "Research has shown that the management of grazing animals, especially in riparian areas, can have a significant impact on water quality. How do we manage streams and riparian areas to maximize production and adequately manage environmental risks? The behavior of animals, and how you can use it to your advantage, needs to be considered when designing a grazing management system. Presenters will also discuss waterborne pathogens and ways to prevent their movement to water bodies." I encourage you to take time to watch the presentation so you can better understand why the Critical Areas Ordinance regulates livestock.

 

 

Fifth, you state: "When the question was posed "what do you consider a farm?", the question was answered by George Boggs, District Coordinator: "If you have one goat, or one sheep, or one pig, or one cow, or one horse, or one llama, etc. that considers you a farm. ALL farms will HAVE to have a Farm Plan and it will cost you $XXXX a year...." You have not quoted me correctly. Regardless, let me address the point that you are trying to make. The Critical Areas Ordinance comes into play when there are critical areas. Those in need of protection and are commonly impacted by agricultural activities include fish and wildlife conservation areas, wetlands and groundwater recharge areas. The Critical Areas Ordinance seeks to protect these by excluding all agricultural activities from these areas and their buffers. If you have a critical area and would like to engage in agricultural activities within a critical area or its buffer, you may be able to do so only through a farm plan.

 

 

Attached is a picture of one cow standing in a critical area. I would hope that you appreciate and agree that this is intolerable where there a stream is used for irrigation for food crops, stock watering and recreation. Under standard buffer provisions of the Critical Areas Ordinance, the cow would be excluded from the stream and a 50 foot buffer. Under the farm plan alternative, if voluntarily chosen by the landowner, the cow would still be excluded from the stream. but "managed" grazing could occur in an adjoin pasture though it is within the 50 foot buffer.

 

 

Meant for small "hobby farms" the Standard Farm Conservation Plan is not a huge, complex document. Rather it is comprised of a short (29 questions) checklist to identify activities that can impact critical areas. It has an action plan. Where the response to a question is no, there is a a management practice to avoid the negative impact identified on the action plan along with a date for implementation. This checklist, tips manual and factsheets on best management practices can be downloaded from our website: http://www.whatcomcd.org/FarmAssist/SmallFarm/SmallFarm.html. You can also pick them up here or call and we will mail them to you.

 

 

With regard to how much "it will cost you $XXXX a year. . .", I don't have perfect knowledge of everyone's farm. So, I can't forecast what it will cost. The question I have for you, what are the costs to our community if good animal husbandry practices are not followed? We read regularly of E coli poisonings across the US. Small truck farming of organic vegetables is a growing sector of Whatcom County Agriculture. They could face economic ruin because livestock owners are not keeping manure out of the water. However, there are some resources available to help farmers do the right thing.

 

 

Congress has recognized that because cheap food benefits the public and that this makes it difficult for farmers to afford to install or follow practices that protect the environment, there needs to be a program of government support. Commercial farmers can get financial assistance through the Natural Resources Conservation Services. It doesn't pay for 100% of the costs. However, it pays for 75% and provides the design and construction oversight. Protecting water from pollution is a cost of business.

 

 

Unfortunately there are few resources for "hobby farms". This is probably because taxpayers don't want to foot the bill for someone's recreation. Whatcom County has recently earmarked $25,000 to provide 75% cost share assistance for the installation of fencing and watering systems up to $3,750 so long as these are part of their farm plan. The Conservation District is looking for additional funds from various sources to help landowners. It makes it easier for us to capture funds when we can tell a granting agency how much we need for practices and how much we can accomplish with those funds.

 

 

Finally, Chuck Timblin and Beth Chisholm, Whatcom Conservation District small farm planners met with representatives from the 4H and FFA last Monday. They heard concerns and answered many questions about small farms and our planning process. All present agreed that livestock owners had a responsibility to manage their animals in a manner to protect water quality. Beth is arraigning another meeting in the near future where representatives from the County will participate. The County will explain and answer questions regarding how it regulates these projects. I personally expect that the process for these projects will be clarified and improved.

 

 

In closing, I hope that you now understand that Whatcom County and the Whatcom Conservation District are separate and distinct. We are not regulatory. Our mission is to assist landowners to meet regulatory challenges. We are available to meet with groups and give presentations on farm plans and best management practices. Do call me if any of my staff have indeed "harassed" you, you have any questions or if I can be of other assistance.

 

 

Sincerely yours

 

 

George J. Boggs, Executive Director

 

Whatcom Conservation District

6975 Hannegan Rd, Lynden WA 98264

W: 360.354.2035x115 C: 360.815.5342 Fx: 360.354.4678

WWW.WhatcomCD.org

"To have a job you love and feel that you are making a difference . . . could anything be more fun?" Katherine Graham

The contents of all e-mail transmissions to and from this office may be considered public information and subject to the provisions of the State of Washington Public Records Act.

 

3D Diamond (1K)

 

 

 

Subject: Re: Please let me Correct the Record From: "Mark Harting" Date: Mon, October 12, 2009 3:24 am To: "George Boggs" Cc: [email protected] --------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

George, I hate turning this email thread into a tennis ball but decided to make a couple comments. A. From the threat letters that I have read, if I had no idea what the CD was, I also would assume a connection between the fines, county planning dept. and the CD. I would recommend that you talk to the planning dept. about rewritting the threat letters to better seperate you from them. There are also known connections between people in the CD and anti-farming groups that are causing you to have a perception problem in the county.

B. These issues were part of the reason for the meeting last Monday. Some progress was made but the need to manage livestock for water quality was the only thing that we did agree on. I do find it odd, from this statement you indicated that this is a new idea that only the CD recognizes. That along with the picture you attached gives me a clear understanding of how you see all animals owners in Whatcom County. I am quite sure that picture was not from Kim's property and to attach it to this email was misleading.

C. If the county is really concerned about water quality then why are they refusing to do or accept water samples to determine actual pollution vs. Perceived. And if the CD is on our side why are they not spearheading this solution? A solution with real potential for improvement.

D. After talking to Chuck and Beth it was made clear that under the current constraints of the cost share program, these funds are not economically available to the small farmer. The costs with the over engineering and design for small farms will increase the cost beyond the benefit of the cost share in most cases.

E. I understand that a farm plan is optional but really not if you want to have animals. With 98% ( I think that is the correct number) of Whatcom County being deemed a critical area it is our only option. I also understand that your office is charged with trying to help people keep their animals while appeasing the counties writing and interpretation of the CAO. I just hope that you can build trust in the community that you are and will look out for the best interests of all our natural resources. Including our farms and farmers large and small.

F. For all of you on this thread, just a thought. How would you feel about somebody forcing their way into your house telling you what part of your house you can use, how you use it and when you can. Also making you spend $ you do not have so that you can use the house you are already paying the mortgage and taxes on. Then the same group can enter your house anytime night or day and change the conditions of it's use. If you can grasp that then you may get a better idea of the anger and frustration in the community.

Mark Harting

 

3D Diamond (1K)

 

 

October 16,2009

 

Good afternoon Mark,

I think everyone benefits for the exchange. Thank you for taking the time to make your comments. It is particularly impressive that you used a cell phone. I'll address each of your comments in turn.

A. "Threat letters". The County provided our name and number because it wanted folks to know that there was a resource there for them to get help. Its too bad that folks were not able to see that. You can take up the tenor of the letters at the next meeting that Beth is trying to coordinate. Regardless,we would be grateful for any specific suggestions on how we can let folks know that we are there to provide confidential technical assistance.

"Known connections between CD people and anti-farming groups..." First, I don't' know what "anti-farming groups" you are alluding to. Second, like all Americans, "CD people" have the constitutionally protect individual right to come together with other individuals and collectively express, promote, pursue and defend common interests. Third, the Whatcom Conservation District respects this right so long as the employee's actions at work advance the district's values which are:

* The development and application of best management practices that protect natural resources and promote sustainable use of those resources ensuring their availability to future generations.

* To serve all the people of Whatcom County by providing the highest quality of technical assistance and education on the application of best management practices.

* To promote stewardship of natural services as the best alternative to regulation and coercion.

B. The picture was not of the Schnackenberg farm. It was not presented as such. Given the context within which it was offered, I though it would be evident that the picture was a rebuttal to Mrs. Schnackenberg's point that one animal did not warrant a farm plan. In fairness, a farm plan is nothing more than identifying impacts and adopting solutions to avoid them. If the landowner has only one animal, it can be a pretty simple plan. While I haven't taken a survey, I would expect that members our community overwhelmingly think it reasonable and expect landowners to manage their animals to keep manure directly or indirectly out of streams. I don't see all animal owners in Whatcom County as in the picture. Unfortunately, as I travel around I see far too many situations where there is a substantial risk of runoff.

C. There are a great deal of water quality sampling results available for demonstrating fecal coliform contamination at high levels in many watercourses. I encourage you to contact Erika Stroebel ((360) 676-6876 with Whatcom County Public Works. She can provide information for the areas you are interested in.

If you are asking about why the County isn't sampling in each instance to show a discharge before requiring landowners to follow a standard buffer or adopt the farm plan alternative, it is probably because:

1. The relationship between livestock, runoff and buffer functions is well established. The buffers and best management practices were based on science. Scientists completed trials where they sampled many times under varying conditions. The results were used in making recommendations. Attached is the water quality section of a recent USDA Conservation offers guide and references of studies used in developing guidance.

2. Sampling is expensive. ($20.00/sample). It is a waste of money to again prove what has been previously established i.e. water runs off from saturated soils and carries with it what ever is dissolved.

Could a performance-based water quality monitoring program be utilized in the alternative? That would be for the County to decide. Would the District work with landowners who wanted to develop and implement such a system? Yes, I expect that we would subject to obtaining funding. Why isn't the District leading on this alternative? We are not because it wasn't apparent until recently that landowners wanted to go this way. Remember, the current CAO was adopted in September of 2005. There were multiple meetings held to garner public input. There was even a special meeting hosted by the Whatcom County Ag Preservation Committee where CPAL was talked about as support given by the Agricultural Community including the Whatcom County Cattlemen's Assn. The suggested changes were incorporated into the final ordinance. Larry Helms who had been very vocal in opposition final spoke in favor of the program before the County Council prior to adoptions. So, until recently we were under the impression that it was an acceptable option for farmers. I will share with you also, that we receive complaints from dairy farmers who ask why other livestock owners are not doing their part.

D. As indicated earlier, commercial farmers have access to funds from USDA through the EQIP program. Small or hobby farms do not have much in the way of resources. If these operations obtained a farm plan and needed funds to implement to the practices, we would work to find them. Right now we are partnering with the Skagit Conservation District in an application to EPA for cost share dollars. The County has indicated to us that they understand that funding is necessary, don't expect landowners to do everything at once and is willing to give them a reasonable amount to complete plan implementation. Let us put aside the past and work on how to make it better.

E. Let me share a brief story with you. I asked the former Washington State Department of Agriculture Director, Jim Jessernig, why he stepped down. He was effective and well liked. He told me that he was tired of being beat up by other agencies who where trying to force difficult and unreasonable changes upon farmers. After he fought the battles there and brought back a what he felt was a successful resolution, the farmers would kick him in the teeth because he agreed to something. It was a no win situation. Perhaps this gives you some insight as to the narrow path we walk.

You describe our actions as appeasement. Until you have been in the fray, you can't appreciate how little is being asked relative to other industries. Nothing was not an option. Since the County, apparently, is willing to reopen the program, then there is a real opportunity for you and others to participate in making it better while negotiating with those who want more. We will be there to work for solutions that work for the needs of all our community.

F. I wouldn't feel very happy if someone did that. The County can speak for itself as to how inspections have been conducted, the tenor of their letters etc. However, with regard to animal husbandry, this is about keeping pathogens and nutrients out of the water to protect community health and community resources. It is too bad that it isn't easy or inexpensive. We are sincerely trying to make it more so.

Yesterday the Whatcom Conservation District was recognized as the Northwest Conservation District of the year by the Washington State Conservation Commission (see attached). So, while we are not without our foibles, we have made some significant accomplishments too. With this reputation on the line, I look forward to working with you and others who want to improve CPAL. Thank you very much for your engagement on this issue. Absent an unavoidable conflict in my schedule, I look forward to meeting you in person.

Cheers

George Boggs

 

3D Diamond (1K)

 

 

 

>From: Kim Schnackenberg [mailto:[email protected]]

 

Sent: Tuesday, October 20, 2009 12:49 PM

 

To: George Boggs

Subject: RE: Please let me Correct the Record

 

Good afternoon Mr. Boggs,

 

 

The staff members (Whatcom Planning Department and WCCD) who have visited us are:

 

 

Elke Daughtery

 

 

Nichole Embertson

 

 

Mark Ockey

 

 

One of the two women above, visited me a year ago in October and recently this early summer. She stated, October of 2008, that she had just been hired recently (within 60 days): stated she was from California. With all the "regulations" that they are imposing this would be seriously have an adverse effect on our community. When I asked her what the communities of Whatcom County were going to do after the dairies would dwindle down to zero, she retorted..."Buy milk from California like everyone else does" I suggested that she may not want to say that to anyone else out in the county as this would be seriously offensive to our community. That certainly didn't seem to bother her. She had also stated that the Wiebe's down the road from me, she had found several bovine standing in the dry creek bed and what a serious consequence that this could impose on the Drayton Harbor watershed. She was very focused on the water quality issue.

 

 

Mr. Boggs, I find it quite interesting that NO ONE remembers visiting us on the Brown Rd. When the same person not only visited us, but visited my neighbors: Mr. & Mrs. Stu Smith, Mr. & Mrs. David Bargelt, Mr. & Mrs. Kelley, Mr. & Mrs. Muggy, Mr. & Mrs. Wiebe, Mr. & Mrs. Hunt. So, maybe your staff may need to do a recollection of who they have visited with. I find this quite odd that do not remember, especially after the visit I had with them, and the questions they posed to me on what animals my neighbors inventory. In addition, this employee had stated to Mrs. Stu Smith that "the neighbors across the street are not happy with us as well as Muggy's down the street"...then pointed across the street at our residence.

 

 

In addition to your review of our Farm Plan that we had initiated for the EQIP with Mr. Ockey, I appreciate that you finally found it in your files. As we had stated to Ms. Nichole Embertson that we had started one and she said that no one had it on file...therefore it doesn't exist. We did indeed ask for assistance at that point and no one followed up with us in reference to the Farm Plan. It was suggested that we had to spend over $20,000.00 out of our pocket.

 

 

As far as "misquoting you", no, I believe what I heard was quite accurate when I asked you at the meeting in August at the Lynden Fire Hall as to the definition of a Farm. I asked the question to you and Oliver...and you responded about the " If you have one goat, or one sheep, or one pig, or one cow, or one horse, or one llama, etc. that considers you a farm..."

 

 

With regard to how much "it will cost you $XXXX a year. . .", I don't have perfect knowledge of everyone's farm. So, I can't forecast what it will cost. The question I have for you, what are the costs to our community if good animal husbandry practices are not followed? We read regularly of E coli poisonings across the US. Small truck farming of organic vegetables is a growing sector of Whatcom County Agriculture. They could face economic ruin because livestock owners are not keeping manure out of the water. However, there are some resources available to help farmers do the right thing.

 

 

You are referring to Agribusiness, not Animal Husbandry. This is somewhat intertwined at a certain degree, especially when crops are sprayed with "organic" fertilizer and lethal chemical sprays for pesticides and insecticides. One of my best friend's is dying of cancer from the carcinogens that leached into her well water from the raspberry farm next door to her. Tell her all about which of the two evils of farming she would prefer. At least with E Coli, you have a chance of a cure with the proper antibiotics.

 

 

The majority of the E coli poisoning for the vegetables comes from the spreading of fecal matter onto the crops for fertilization. With your diverse background, I find your question to me to be quite ridiculous. With your credentials, you should already know this fact on a commercial level.

 

 

George Boggs, District Coordinator

 

George was hired in the spring of 1997 to fill the challenging role of District Coordinator. With two degrees, experiance as a farmer, trustee of an irrigation district and attorney credentials, George is well qualified to meet this challenge. Assuming the Coordinator's position is a way to provide the farming community with leadership on the problems they face. George's diverse background and enthusiasm helps in the progress of preserving Whatcom County's natural resources. [email protected]

 

As far as the correct definition of Animal Husbandry via Wikipedia.com:

 

Animal husbandry, also called animal science

stockbreeding or simple husbandry, is the agricultural

practice of breeding

and raising livestock

It has been practiced for thousands of years, since the first domestication of animals.

The science of animal husbandry is taught in many universities

and colleges

around the world. Students of animal science

may pursue degrees in veterinary medicine

following graduation, or go on to pursue master's degrees or doctorates in disciplines such as nutrition

and animal breeding

and animal breeding

or reproductive physiology

Graduates of these programs may be found working in the veterinary and human pharmaceutical industries

Also the livestock and pet supply and feed industries, farming, ranching or in academia.

 

Historically, certain sub-professions within the field of animal husbandry are named specifically for the animals in their care.

 

 

I do support in the WCCD in what they are doing with the buffers and do believe that livestock should not be directly in ponds, streams, rivers. However, there is a common sense side of this situation in which I see that has been diluted. It is one thing to promote the Ag business, however, in the essence of what you are trying to achieve, there is more damage that is being done than good management.

 

 

There are quite a few individuals within the WCCD and the Whatcom County Planning that are serving on other boards that have a direct "conflict of interest". Let us take out the POLITICS of the WCCD and WCPD and start taking into consideration the grassroots of our community and how they support the whole county as a community.

 

 

Respectfully,

 

 

Kim

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3D Diamond (1K)

 

 

Subject: Please stop the false statements

 

From: "George Boggs"

Date: Tue, October 20, 2009 6:32 pm

 

To: "Kim Schnackenberg"

 

Dear Mrs. Schnackenberg.

 

It may be that you and your neighbors had the conversations and heard the things you say. However, it was not a district employee with whom you had those conversations. In one last attempt to refresh your memory let me repeat once more, no district employee except for Mark Ockey has ever been on your farm. None have said the things you claim to have been said. Further, Dr. Nichole Embertson came to me very upset after reading your message. She wanted to me to specifically say that she categorically and unequivocally disputes your allegations relative to her. They are just plain false.

 

 

For your information, in October of 2008 she was moving from Colorado where she previously taught at Colorado State University. She did not start work here until November 1st. She was hired to create a new program to develop sustainable solutions to mitigate the impacts of livestock. Due to limitations in funding she has worked here almost exclusively serving as a dairy nutrient management planner. When not doing that she has spoken at several State, National and International forums as an expert on livestock emission and air quality. Her credentials are impeccable and her reputation unblemished except for the untruths you persist in publishing. Contrary to the impression you are instilling in other people, she brings great sensitivity, empathy and understanding to the plight of farmers and dairy producers in particular. I have heard her advocate on their behalf against unreasonable regulations. Whatcom is very, very fortunate to attract such a bright young scientist to work on the most pressing environmental challenges for our dairies.

 

 

Be advised that your false statements are injurious by casting her and the District in a false light. This frustrates our ability to effectively serve our farm community by creating an impediment to communication. This is as unfortunate as it is intolerable. We ask that you recognize your error and issue an unequivocal retraction to set the record right. Perhaps it might be helpful for you to come to the District to personally meet with Dr. Embertson and myself. Feel free to bring anyone including your attorney. Please call me in advance if you think this is necessary so that I can schedule a time of mutual convenience.

 

 

Thank you.

 

George J. Boggs, Executive Director

Whatcom Conservation District

6975 Hannegan Rd, Lynden WA 98264

W: 360.354.2035x115 C: 360.815.5342 Fx: 360.354.4678

WWW.WhatcomCD.org


"

To have a job you love and feel that you are making a difference . . . could anything be more fun?" Katherine Graham

 

The contents of all e-mail transmissions to and from this office may be considered public information and subject to the provisions of the State of Washington Public Records Act.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3D Diamond (1K)

 

October 21,2009

To All,

The Whatcom Conservation District has always been "pro-farm" when dealing with our Farm Plan. Each employee of the WCD has been patient and concerned, as well as helpful, cooperative, and understanding of our farming operation and business, as can possibly be.

Specifically, Dr. Nichole Embertson recently concluded an update of our Farm Plan and actually restructured it to be even more accommodating to our farming needs. Nichole is conscientious of the needs of farmers to be able to operate in a positive cash flow basis. She has never put pressure on us to spend unnecessarily in order to implement our Farm Plan. Nichole has been straight-forward, honest, sensitive to setting appointments around our farming schedule, and available non-stop. I welcome Nichole to our farm anytime.

I met Nichole before she was hired. She visited our farm and was asked some tough questions. It has been encouraging to know that after being hired Nichole has stuck to her strong convictions of providing for the farmer by helping and assisting. We are fortunate to have such a talented, educated, farm advocate as Nichole working in our district.

When I walk into the WCD office I know I have trusted friends who are willing to help me with any situation. They are there to serve us, and do.

My work with the Planning Department is very limited compared to my time spent with the WCD. It seems things were quite fine with farmers and the WCD before this latest surge of actions by the Planning Department.

Am I correct that the WC Planning Department is acting upon the Critical Areas Ordinance which was approved by the County Council? And the County Council approved more stringent practices than WA State required? And, the WCD, at the end of this trail, is assisting the landowner in becoming compliant with the CAO? Why then, am I continually hearing blame to the WCD? Isn't it the County Council that needs to reevaluate its actions to solve these problems for land and animal owners?

 

Sincerely,

 

Debbie VanderVeen

Veen Huizen Farms

319-9310


November 4, 2009