Farm Bureau: Measure T negatively impacts land
The Yuba-Sutter Farm Bureau supports the preservation of agricultural lands.
However, Measure T could do more to negatively impact agricultural lands than protect them.
Measure T is flawed on several levels. The language in the measure is vague, opening the document up to widely different interpretations from lawyers, developers, special interest groups and others with their own agendas. Also, the fiscal impacts for the county and voters to host the countless special elections possible under Measure T are unknown. According to county staff estimates, a single election could range from $1,000 to $150,000.
In June 2011, Yuba County updated its General Plan. Beginning in 2007, the process was extensive and citizen-driven with numerous meetings, workshops and input from the agricultural community and the Yuba County Agricultural Commissioner. The General Plan was ultimately adopted at a public hearing by our Supervisors. Measure T would ignore this process, our input and effort by stating it "shall prevail over any revisions to the Yuba County General Plan…" If Measure T was so good for protecting agricultural resources, why wasn't it discussed, debated and ultimately approved through the normal process?
The needs of family farmers and ranchers vary year to year on a number of factors. While the uncertainty of weather or trade markets is a given, injecting the uncertainty of a general election vote is too much.
The vagueness of Measure T suggests that job-creating events such as putting in a prune dehydrator could only occur after an election. Currently, the Board of Supervisors has the authority to make these types of decisions and can weigh the facts after a public discussion. This process should remain intact. As an economic driver for Yuba and Sutter counties, it is imperative that agriculture be allowed to develop infrastructure to support its operations. Measure T could hinder the growth of agriculture in the region.
Proponents of Measure T argue that similar measures have had success in other counties. However, in those cases the local landowners, county supervisors and Farm Bureaus were involved in the development of the measure from the outset. The opinions of Yuba-Sutter Farm Bureau and local growers were not sought in the writing of Measure T, and unfortunately there can be no changing the language of the measure now.
The Yuba-Sutter Farm Bureau encourages all voters to look carefully at Measure T and see that while it may be well-intended, the measure is poorly written, potentially very costly and will be counterproductive to its intended goal.