Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Stanhope Farm

Once again people that have chosen to live next to agricultural land are upset that a farmer is farming.   The Stanhope Farm is developing a new compost facility and neighbours are upset that there are trucks coming in during the construction.

What made me pay attention was the rant this morning by Burton Cummings on CBC Radio 1's morning program On the Island.  He seems upset at the trucks going to the farm - how does he propose they get the material to the farm if not by the roads?   Complain to Central Saanich for not making the road adequate for the needs, do not crap on the farm.   He was also ranting about composting on a farm - seriously????   Farms have always composted, he chose to live close to farms, did he think all the farms would disappear and be replaced by rock star mansions?

ALR land is there to keep farming alive, it is not intended to make a bucolic landscape for public enjoyment.   Agriculture is an industry and it includes smelly and noisy practices.    The quid pro quo with the ALR is that farmers will then not be hindered from farming.   For farms to survive, they have to be able to make enough money to be viable.

Composting is a good idea, it means less fertilizer and water will be used by the farm.  It also means that less waste material needs to find a home in this region.   This one of the more important environmentally positive projects in this region.

People are concerned that the farm may sell some compost, the farmer says he is not going to sell any.   The rules are clear cut, he is not allowed to sell it, not that the rules are being enforced.   If you drive around peninsula you can see numerous people selling bags of manure - no one is cracking down on them.

So what would be the downside of compost being sold by the farm?  None that I can see other than the people living next door may see more composting going on.   If they do not like composting, imagine the smell or liquid manure being spread on the fields or the sound of propane cannons.   Farmers on the peninsula have long gone out of their way to be good neighbours and farm in ways that are not intrusive, not that they credit for this.

Either we are serious in this region about having agriculture and people quit complaining about farming or we admit that farming is not acceptable in the CRD and local food is unimportant to us.    It is not fun for a farmer to made to feel like a pariah when they are simply doing normal farming.   This added stress to the farmer is a cruel joke on them.

The biggest threat to farm land in our area comes from people buying 5 to 20 acres lots and building mansions on them.   North Saanich has had the biggest loss of productive farm land to residential use of anywhere on the south island.  It is then the height of hubris to have people that have build their houses on ALR land to complain about people farming.

I have no sympathy for people that buy a house near farms and then get upset when the land is farmed.
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