I say take the chains off future farmers in Multnomah County by removing the chains of government regulation.
Multnomah County's "East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District" gained the ability to tax a few years ago. I advocated against another taxing district and now you know why. They've taken your money, married it with leftist politics, purchased land from a nurseryman and will now turn it into a politically correct farm. It's a governmental imperative dontcha know, to have locally produced food.
And look, the East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District is wasting no time turning itself into a well paid group of busybodies to add another governmental layer for you to pay to restrict the use of your own land.
the 2004 tax base helped it remodel and move into a former mortuary in North Portland, add staff and tackle both urban and rural land and water issues.
The agency now has a $4.85 million yearly budget, 13 employees and is involved in everything from weed management to water quality to land restoration -- and now a farm incubator.
Somewhere along the line I'm sure someone will invoke the Multnomah Food Action Plan (see my posts here, here,
here, here, here) as the moral and governmental imperative for forcing taxpayers into becoming plantation owners in order to subsidize their latest idea.
The effort comes at a time of transition for agriculture in the Portland area. Demand for locally grown food has increased interest in farming among young people. But a lack of expertise and access to land and money is keeping many from starting their own businesses.
I like farms. Heck, I spent a lot of my child hood on my Mor Mor and Grandpa's farm. I've gardened, composted and the rest along with my parents and grandparents. I think farms are terrific. In fact, I think if you want to farm on your land that you ought to be able to. But government planning poohbahs with their SB 100 urban growth boundaries helped extinguish small farmers in Oregon and especially Multnomah County. Land costs became prohibitively expensive and government regulators who weren't farmers forced farmers to produce $80,000 worth of income on their land before they were allowed to build a home. The government has killed the farm. Now, when farming's back in fashion, they want to use government again to force us to pay for them.
Please understand, I have nothing against farms. I've purchased fabulous veggies from a local CSA as a subscriber. It's wonderful. But know this: The government created the problem by curtailing private property rights in the name of central planning--you know, like China. Now when it's politically correct to have more farmers, do they consider removing these onerous regulations that would make it easier for individuals to decide if they want to farm on their own land? No. They exempt themselves from regulations everyone else has to follow.
I say get rid of the regulation and Free the Farmers. In Washington County they have. Read it here.