Published August 2005

County agricultural board members oppose restructurings

By SCBJ Staff

The Snohomish County Council, meeting last month to consider altering the composition and responsibilities of the agricultural board, decided they will not make any immediate changes.

The hearing and proposed rules came after some complained last year that the panel’s mission was unclear.

But farmers worry the changes may put them on the sidelines in ongoing discussions about agriculture, Albert said. More council committee discussions are planned on the agricultural board’s future, County Councilman John Koster said afterward.

“I’m glad they’re slowing down the process,” said Max Albert, a six-year member of the agricultural board.

The proposal that most worried farmers would have kept the advisory board away from county planning staff and forced the panel instead to advise the County Council and county executive. “We could be shut out of the process,” said Albert, a former dairy farmer who is now a crop farmer on 200 acres in the Stillaguamish Valley.

The county also sought to change the way board members are selected., from geographic areas to agricultural industries, including dairies, beef farmers and nurseries. The proposed changes drew fire from agricultural board members, the Snohomish County Farm Bureau and the League of Women Voters.

Koster, a former dairy farmer and a former member of the agricultural board, said he supports keeping the agricultural board in the information loop with county planners.

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© 2005 The Daily Herald Co., Everett, WA