Letter: Thank you Westport farmers and supporters 

Posted 2/13/20

To the editor:

On Tuesday, February 11, Westport residents overwhelmingly voted to strengthen the town’s Right to Farm Bylaw. We want to extend a personal thank you to the many …

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Letter: Thank you Westport farmers and supporters 

Posted

To the editor:

On Tuesday, February 11, Westport residents overwhelmingly voted to strengthen the town’s Right to Farm Bylaw. We want to extend a personal thank you to the many supporters who came to town meeting to make their voices heard and to those who helped us leading up to the vote. 

We all should be proud of our position and the result. Westporters made it clear that we want to remain a strong farming community with limited government oversight and no registration requirement. Our work is not done, the ballot box approaches in April and elections matter. 

There were also a number of voters who opposed our measure and, while we disagree with your position, we empathize with your views. We know that you want best farming practices and animal health and welfare guidelines. We hear you and have the same commitment to our livestock. 

While we disagree on the need for further regulations to achieve this goal, our bylaw amendment extends a clear olive branch in the form of an animal census to be performed by the agricultural commission. We hope you will take us up on our census offer. It's the best way to get farm data into Barn Book inspections without alienating the farmers and livestock owners. 

Finally, to the Board of Health and other town agencies, we sincerely hope you will respect the will of the voters and rescind your registration requirement. Irrespective of the Attorney General’s upcoming review and outcome, the will of the Westport voter is clear. Only you have the power to vote out the registry. Please do so, embrace the census and together we can build out the Barn Book inspections and move forward. 

Sam Mundel, Sherri Mahoney, Patrick McBride, Charlie Merrow, Katie Nemeth 

Westport Farmers Alliance 

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Scott Pickering has been on the East Bay Newspapers team for more than two decades, since starting as a reporter for the Sakonnet Times. He's been editor of most of the papers, was Managing Editor of all the papers for many years, and became General Manager in 2012. Today he can be found posting to EastBayRI.com, steering news coverage, writing editorials, talking to readers, working with the sales team, collaborating on design, or helping do whatever it takes to get the papers out the door. Reach him at spickering@eastbaynewspapers.com.