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An Agricultural Commission for Mendon?

Cattle enjoy the fields at the Vincent farm in the center of Mendon. Farms like this might benefit if the town votes to establish a Agricultural Commission for the town.



Would an Agricultural Commission be a benefit for Mendon? On April 28, Cheryl Lekstrom of the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation opened an exploratory meeting with this question as she proceeded to address the approximately 25 Mendon residents who had crowded into the Upper Town Hall. In a presentation that was informative, passionate and entertaining, she explained that an Agricultural Commission is a non-regulatory, town-recognized entity, which provides a voice for the agricultural community and creates agricultural awareness. An Agricultural Commission would work to preserve, revitalize, and sustain Mendon's agricultural businesses and lands. An Agricultural Commission is a resource for mediation and conflict resolution as neighborhoods are built in closer proximity to farms.

An Agricultural Commission would also promote agricultural-based economic opportunities in the Town. State officials report all-time highs in interest in locally grown produce. More and more people are becoming involved in community supported agriculture. According to state figures, the number of farms in Massachusetts has increased 27 percent from 2002. Massachusetts farms generate $458 million annually in cash receipts and support more than 12,000 jobs and, although it is the 8th smallest state, Massachusetts ranks 7th in direct sales of agricultural products.

At the end of the meeting, Lekstrom requested a show of hands as she asked the question again.  Would an Agricultural Commission be a benefit for Mendon? It was unanimous! Everyone in the room enthusiastically supported the formation of an Agricultural Commission.

Even though it is non-regulatory, a town meeting vote is required so a number of people signed up to work on writing a warrant article for the September special town meeting. It was apparent that interest in agriculture is alive and well in the Town of Mendon.




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