News From Your Friends

Clark County Needs an Agricultural Commission

April 23, 2024 in Climate Change, Farmland & Forests, Local Food Systems

Over the past several years, members of the farming community, including Friends of Clark County, Clark/Cowlitz Farm Bureau, local farmers market organizers, and the Clark Conservation District have expressed to Clark County the need for agricultural interests to be represented in Clark County government.

Currently, there are NO voices representing the agricultural community while the county has 33 citizen advisory boards, commissions, and groups that exist for the purpose of “advising County departments.” An agricultural interest group could help guide local departments on a significant range of current issues. These include land use, economic viability, climate change mitigation and resiliency efforts, farm programs that improve the industry’s profitability, and the health of the local food system, which promotes public health and security in the face of global supply chain issues.   

Clark County has several boards and advisory groups representing the development, building, and construction industries who provide loud and sustained  feedback that have a tremendous impact on the direction and quality of life for residents of this county, but no agricultural commission when open space, clean water protection, and food are essential to life. Planning for and supporting those feeding our community is just as important as housing and jobs, especially as climate change will continue to impact our access to food sources outside of our region.

We see creating an agricultural commission as an opportunity for our local government to open itself to the voices of those that can offer balance to that direction and quality of life – on behalf of its residents. The agricultural interest group seeks to incorporate the thoughts and ideas of rural residents, which may often be overlooked in County planning efforts. 

Friends of Clark County strongly supports the Council’s consideration of an agricultural commission in Clark County, and we look forward to working with our local partners  to make it a strong and valuable contributor to this County’s successful and healthy growth going forward into the future. 

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