It is important to acknowledge when something good happens in the farming community, because it is not always raining — sometimes the sun does indeed shine. Last night at the Whatcom County Council meeting, against the headwinds of hysteria and fear, four council members voted to allow meat packing facilities on Ag land. Ever since this issue came before the council, I have been befuddled why people would want to specifically ban something we on the Ag lands have done for 100’s of years — slaughter animals so that they can be used in our food supply. Be that as it may, it took a lot of work by Councilman Bill Knutzen and Farmer Ben Elenbaas to provide zoning in Whatcom County in which we could expand our meat packing facilities. Bill Knutzen is currently the only member on the council that comes from a farming background. He has spent the last year attempting to explain the complex nature of food production to both his fellow council members and the public. Ben Elenbaas was gracious enough to provide on the ground tours of farming and slaughter facilities in our county to council members who wished to become better informed before they voted. It was obvious during the deliberations that council members and the public struggled to understand the complexities of food production and the existing regulatory environment that protects us. So, I thank Kathy Kershner, Sam Crawford, Pete Kremen and especially Bill Knutzen for their votes last night to support a vital support service for the farming industry and our agricultural community in Whatcom County.
~ Lorraine Newman