Orchard sprayer on Johnson Farms | Jane Boursaw Photo
Orchard sprayer on Johnson Farms | Jane Boursaw Photo

(OMP farmer Jed Hemming suggests that the real goal of Protect the Peninsula is to remove the business of agriculture, which will ultimately result in removing the agricultural landscape of the Old Mission Peninsula. Read on… jb)

How often has a mailing from Protect the Peninsula (PTP) gone out in our community for a call to action? How can you refuse? “Protecting the Peninsula” is important. The name, after all, infers a good cause. (Personally, I believe they mislabel their mailing list as a “membership.”)

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I have often heard the “President” of PTP claim to support the agricultural community in many ways and for many years, including input on zoning regulations and the Purchase of Development Rights program (PDR).

I very strongly disagree.

As a lifelong resident and second generation farmer, I will state unequivocally that ‘PTP’s goal is and has been to regulate agriculture.’ I challenge anybody to open a fruit processing plant today. The restrictions on warehouse capacity, local sales and viewsheds, not to mention the noise, odor and traffic impacts on adjoining roads and neighborhoods, would make the process all but impossible. It’s important to note here that the process of farming generates all of the same nuisances.

The PDR program, which is heavily supported by PTP, was and is presented as an opportunity to save farmland from residential development. In reality, it is a process to further restrict the use of agriculturally-zoned land beyond what can be done through zoning.

Admittedly, the PDR program is voluntary, and the residential development rights are paid for with real dollars. It’s not the validity of the program that I’m addressing – it’s the true goal. The size and location of pole barns, cooling facilities and labor housing is, in some cases, dictated by the PDR easement, because it impacts residential neighbors and views.

Will hours of operation be regulated because of noise? This is considerably more than limiting residential development. It could be argued that it encourages it.

I propose that PTP is, in reality, in support of an agricultural landscape, and NOT the business of agriculture.

What will happen to all the land “preserved” by the PDR program if agribusiness is no longer viable? Abandoned orchards and vineyards and another lawsuit?

I often hear about the beautiful orchards and vineyards on the Peninsula. What a beautiful place to live. I suggest that if you remove the business of agriculture, you will lose the landscape.

– Jed Hemming

Editor’s Note: A bit of history … Kroupa’s, Inc., which Jed mentions above, was located on Center Road north of Peninsula Cellars’ tasting room. After many years where it sat vacant with only the office and storage facility, that parcel is now being cleared. I heard that a horse farm might be going in there, but I’ll find out more info and report back. Below is a Record-Eagle ad from July 7, 1976, which notes local cherry processors welcoming visitors to the 1976 National Cherry Festival. Three of the processors were located on the Old Mission Peninsula – Gleason & Co. (on Center Road just south of the Old Mission Tavern); Kroupa’s, Inc.; and Peninsula Fruit Exchange (on the corner of Peninsula Drive and Kroupa Road). Only Peninsula Fruit Exchange (PFE) remains; it was purchased by Seneca Fruit in recent years. Also in the ad, note that the National Cherry Queen was OMP resident Carol Grishaw. – jb)

Record-Eagle Ad; Cherry Processors; July 7, 1976 | Newspapers.com
Record-Eagle Ad; Cherry Processors; July 7, 1976 | Newspapers.com

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1 COMMENT

  1. Their real goal is to have pretty farmland and vineyards and live in their houses mostly on former farm land and make sure no newcomers come here and farmers are pushed aside and wineries can not add to their economic livelihood.
    Tonight’s vote on the moratorium was yet another step by the board to thwart any farmer who may want to try his hand at say processing or build a storage building for his agricultural products for example.
    Yes they heeded the farmers parity pleas by stiffing them the same way they are trying to stiff the wineries. Don’t let their claims to wanting to help the farmers fool you. Actions speak louder than words.
    And by the way anyone living in ag zone not a farmer will be impacted as well. All sups for the ag zone are terminated for six more months.

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