County Sustainable Agriculture Recommendations To Be Unveiled

February 18, 2010
Supervisor Kyle Richmond, 608-251-3171 Supervisor Duane Gau, 608-320-1100
County Board

Dane County Supervisors will introduce a resolution Thursday evening proposing recommendations to improve support for agriculture in Dane County, the result of more than a year’s work by a variety of county citizens. Part of the initiative will bring attention to how Dane County supports beginning farmers and uses County-owned land for agricultural purposes, said Supervisor Duane Gau, co-chair of the County Board’s Sustainable Agriculture Subcommittee. “It’s been a thoughtful process that has the potential to bring new producers into agriculture, and to better support those already doing business in our county,” said Gau, who is also a member of the Economic Development Committee. “It’s imperative to reinforce our agricultural base and promote local opportunities.” In October 2008, the Board’s Environment, Agriculture and Natural Resources (EANR) Committee began discussions about sustainable agriculture, and then created a seven-member subcommittee in April 2009 to focus attention on agriculture in the county. The subcommittee employed four work groups which focused research and brainstorming in key areas: Beginning Farmers, Profitability, Farmland Preservation, and Urban Agriculture and Food Security. Those work groups – made up of volunteer citizens with expertise and interest in the four issues – deliberated into autumn 2009 before delivering recommendations to the subcommittee. The subcommittee also included co-chair Margaret Krome, a member of the State Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Board; farmer and former Dane County Executive Jonathan Barry; and four other experts who chaired the four work groups. “With this agenda we can better mesh our resources in Dane County and focus energy on filling in some gaps in local agriculture,” said Supervisor Kyle Richmond, EANR Committee Chairman. “We may also produce a creative, meaningful model for local agriculture policy in the U.S.” The resolution will be referred to County committees for consideration, and return to the Board. ###