Proof That Heath Loves Farms

  • Post published:01/25/2012
  • Post comments:3 Comments
Heath - A Right to Farm Community Roadside Sign

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Peter

    Pat, this is a very timely post. This picture could well be captioned “Sense and Sensibility” and I firmly believe Jane Austin herself would come down on the right side of this farm protection issue. I’d been wondering about “Right to Farm” signs I’d seen recently in nearby towns. I was somewhat concerned because the so-called “right to work” movement is seen as poorly disguised attempt to break the labor unions’ power in many states.

    At our last select board meeting the idea was proposed for our own town. Alas, no on explained what a Right to Farm” town entailed, and instead the discussion centered on what our town might use to make the signs out of, and what animals town artists could paint on them – the obvious solution was to have cows near the dairy farmers and ducks near the farm that raised poultry. That our town has someone raising ostriches offers a healthy challenge to our artist sign painters.

    But what exactly is a “right to farm” town? The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is allowing rural communities to declare, by majority vote, that they are a “right to farm community” and thereby protect current, established farmers from legal actions and possible harassment stemming from the influx of new home owners who, unfamiliar with farming practices, might challenge a farmer’s right to spread manure on his fields in the spring, or object to the smells that one associates with healthy ongoing barnyard life. To protect homeowners, a farmer cannot suddenly switch from raising a few radishes to starting a massive hog breeding factory farm, nor can a herd go from a few dozen cows to a Texas-sized ranch with thousands of head of cattle. But it does recognize that some of the smells and sounds of country living come with the territory, so to speak, and that newly arrived residents cannot tailor necessary and long-established agricultural activity and practice to suit their still-suburban sensibilities.

    All of this said, I think there should be a worldwide ban on gasoline-powered leaf blowers, and I vote for declaring our town a “Right to Sanity” town.

  2. Pat

    Keith – The chickens are very happy – even in drafty coops like mine.
    Peter – Thank you for explaining the Right to Farm law. Our small rural towns with their farms appeal to urban and suburban people who move here – but then they have trouble with the reality of farming and complain. We love our livestock in Heath.

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