Coalition Launches Community Effort
To Find Ag Land Preservation Solutions
From its very beginning agriculture has been the economic foundation on which Idaho has grown. Agriculture pumps approximately $8 Billion each year into the Idaho economy and generates jobs for tens of thousands of jobs. In Canyon County alone 10 acres of agricultural land accounts for $158,000 in base sales, $33,790 in base wages and creates 1 job. Agriculture has been our saving grace through numerous recessions, including the recent Recession, and the Great Depression.
There are more than 25,700 farms in Idaho that produce more than 180 different commodities. Ag-related industries such as food production, transportation, equipment, seed production, dairy products, meat production, and others all are byproducts of Idaho’s agricultural community and rely on a strong agricultural environment for their existence.
But there is a looming crisis in Idaho that presents a growing threat to its agricultural livelihood. It is a loss of viable agricultural lands as a direct result of the enormous growth in Idaho’s population over the past two decades. Urban and commercial development has resulted in conversion of traditional agricultural lands into residential subdivisions, shopping centers and a myriad of commercial developments.
Development has resulted in a growing range of rural/urban clashes due to generally recognized farming practices such noise, aerial and ground application of pesticides, irrigation and water rights, cross-pollination issues, dust and noise associated with farming practices.
Serious concerns about the future of agriculture and existing agricultural operations have been voiced by a wide range of different sectors of the community including farmers, agri-businesses, city and county officials, and Agricultural Producers. At the heart of the issue is the land use decision making process that determines when agricultural lands should be rezoned for non-agricultural uses.
Nearly everyone recognizes the growing problem of preserving agricultural lands. But they also recognize that growth and develop is both inevitable and crucial to Idaho’s future. The perplexing question is how to best balance the two mutually exclusive demands. Preservation of agricultural lands is extremely important for Idaho’s future; however, there is a critical need for residential and industrial growth as our population expands. It is clear that it is extremely important both demands find an acceptable method by which to co-exist.
The Coalition for Agriculture’s Future (CAF) has launched an intensive community-wide effort to find a workable solution to the problem of competing interests by December 31, 2017. The goal is to find a consensus among all competing interests on how best to develop land use decision-making procedures applicable to the conversion of agricultural lands.
This community-based process to create mutually acceptable zoning applicable to Canyon County agriculture will require time, extensive stakeholder meetings, negotiations and the development of a unified proposal by all stakeholders that can be considered by the Planning & Zoning Board and Canyon County Commissioners.
If you would like to be involved with this community effort please contact Roger Batt, CAF Executive Director, at (208) 888-0988 or (208) 412-5760 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Agriculture has from the beginning forged the values and character of Idaho's people, and of necessity crafted the foundations of responsible stewardship of its natural resources. The Coalition works to help maintain agricultural lands for the future by developing mechanisms that incorporate future looking planning in land use issues that will allow both development and protection of our agricultural heritage and traditions. Our ultimate goal is to preserve for future generations a critical natural resource that feeds the world and a heritage that helps define the character of its society. Coalition membership represents a wide variety of agri-businesses and associations, financial institutions, food related companies and other individuals and companies interested in preserving Idaho's capacity to utilize a critical natural resource that ultimately feeds our world.
Coalition For Agriculture’s Future ~ 55 SW 5th Ave, Suite 100, Meridian, ID 83642
(208) 888-0988 - Fax (208) 888-4586 ~ Email: Info@agsfuture.org