Letter to the county supervisors – Greene Co. Farm Bureau

December 27, 2016

To the Greene County supervisors,

The Ostrander family has called Greene county home for generations, and the family has been farming in our community for more than a century, doing things the right way. The Ostranders have gone above and beyond requirements to protect soil health and water quality for their neighbors and other communities in the watershed and downstream. After all, their family drinks from the same wells as many other Jefferson residents.

The family’s proposed hog barn, recently approved by the Greene county supervisors, would be operated by a young man, Justin, who’s been a part of our community, is a recent graduate from Greene County High School, and represents the sixth generation on the Ostrander family farm.

Agriculture is the leading economic driver and source of jobs in our state, especially in rural counties. With limited land available for grain farming and huge costs to get started, livestock farming is often the only opportunity for young farmers to get started in agriculture.

During a recent public hearing on the livestock barn proposal, which was covered in a Jefferson Herald article, Jefferson city engineer John Milligan raised some concerns about the barn posing a threat to water quality.

Clean water is something we all aspire for, and the Ostranders embrace that commitment. Every four years, the family conducts detailed soil sampling; not because it’s required, but because they want to do everything in their power to protect the environment for future generations.

Additionally, the Ostranders have an ongoing eight-year relationship with the Pinnacle Group, an agronomic and environmental consulting group, to ensure their farm stays in environmental and regulatory compliance and help guide their conservation plan to ensure the family legacy of protecting the soil and water.

Since the Ostrander family has been on the farm for over a century, they are very familiar with the artesian well located 1.5 miles from the proposed site, and have never applied fertilizer over that area or any other environmentally-sensitive spots on their farm. The location of the well would only pose a concern in the case of excess fertilizer application, which the Ostranders have taken many steps to ensure will not happen.

Because of the years of work with Pinnacle and the detailed, DNR-reviewed manure management plan (MMP), both the DNR, through the matrix, and the county supervisors have given approval to move forward.

Milligan’s concern and focus on water quality is shared by Greene county farmers, which is why farmers like the Ostranders are taking on the challenge of water quality, putting plans in place to be good caretakers of the land.

According to the 2012 Ag Census, more than one-third of all Greene county jobs are in agriculture or ag-related industry, and more than 6,000 residents work in agriculture. The Greene County Farm Bureau supports responsible livestock growth in our county and feel strongly that the Ostrander family is committed to continuing their legacy of farming the right way and being great members of our community. Agriculture is essential for communities in Greene county to remain prosperous and provide a great quality of life for our residents, and we look forward to working together to ensure Jefferson and Greene county remains a great place to live.

John McCormick, president, Greene County Farm Bureau

 

 

 

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