Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Rural Meets Urban On the Farm

Rural met urban tonight at a Benton County Quorum Court meeting. It's neither the first nor the last time for situations to occur in our rapidly growing county that will have a great impact on our agricultural community. Tonight's issue is the small farming community of Hiwassee fighting against the proposed annexation of their community into the larger city of Bella Vista.  This annexation would take in approximately 6000 acres of agricultural land.

As I listened to a member of our Benton County Farm Bureau Board present reasons we oppose this annexation for this agricultural community, I thought about the rich agricultural history of Benton County. In the 1920's, we  were listed as the number one apple growing county in the nation. When the apple industry declined, the poultry industry began with a farmwife raising a backyard chicken. Today Benton County is second in the state in poultry production and Arkansas ranks second nationally in poultry production.

More than 100 farm families make their living from raising poultry and cattle in this proposed area of annexation. After reviewing the proposed annexation, Arkansas Farm Bureau states that it believes the new regulations placed on this small agricultural community by the city would be detrimental and quite possibly devastating to their ability to maintain or expand their current farm while potentially decreasing the value of their land. Landowners and farmers will also be faced with additional costs to improve their land because of a more restrictive and expensive permitting process.

It's my hope that the citizens of Bella Vista will consider the importance of this agricultural community to our county and the long range plan of food production for our nation. The question  for all of us--rural and urban--where will our food be produced?

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