Yolo County Farm Bureau Opposes DiSC 2022

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Special to the Vanguard

Woodland, CA – A goal of Yolo County Farm Bureau (“YCFB”) is to preserve and protect prime farmland that is fundamental to the ability of Yolo County farmers and ranchers to provide a safe, reliable supply of food and fiber.

Pursuant to that objective we have evaluated the DiSC 2022 102- acre development, proposed on the east side of Mace Blvd, north of Interstate 80. This proposed project is pending decision by the City of Davis electorate at the June 7 election.

This development would convert prime farmland into business and residential uses. YCFB has carefully considered the City of Davis project file, including submittals and the letter filed by Yolo County (12/6/21). YCFB board members have driven to the project area, looked at the project perimeters and current uses of adjacent lands.

We comment at the outset that County correspondence emphasizes that the DiSC 2022 developers here have sought to annex and develop farmland that is completely outside the City of Davis “Sphere of Influence.” This area has not been included in a relevant LAFCo area suitability review. Thus, necessary studies have not taken place: the bottom line is that appropriateness of this use on this property has not been independently, publicly evaluated. This project does not deserve public support because it is an “opportunistic” conversion of farmland. It is not a carefully planned transition that we define as: Urban growth is considered but impacts on the agricultural lands and economy are included from the inception of the process, and are part of the equation.

For our purposes, we are looking at the direct loss of 102 acres of very prime land and the impacts of the urban use on adjacent farming. This acreage is an important part of the necessary farming base that supports our equally critical agricultural infrastructure—the vendors and manufacturers of supplies, inventories and equipment. The more farmland that is lost—Yolo County is less able to keep its farmers and ranchers operating.

Many interested in farmland preservation focus on “Mitigation” and what ratio—ag land turned into urban uses—to land that must be “preserved” for agriculture is appropriate. The various concerned and interested groups speak in terms of 3-1 or 2-1. We point out that every acre of prime farmland lost to urbanization is permanently lost. There is a loss of farmland no matter what ratio is used. Thus, we oppose this project because 102 prime acres are permanently lost.

YCFB is concerned that DiSC 2022 brings urban uses into a rural area. Neighboring urban uses have very negative impacts on the ability of any adjacent farmer to successfully farm his crop. Almonds are planted on the east side of this proposed project: almond growers need extensive spray buffers to keep the impacts of their materials from affecting incompatible land uses. 300-foot buffers have been suggested: those of us who have had to put on aerial sprays (by helicopter or plane) realize that a 500-foot buffer can be required. This buffer must be located entirely on project land, not the farmer’s acreage. Buffers cannot be open to the public for recreation or other purposes: people in buffer areas are inconsistent with the use. Without adequate buffers the farmer will have to compromise on pest protection: pests invade the crop and spread throughout the acreage, causing damage and net income loss. The farmer must be able to completely protect the entirety of his planted acreage in order to protect the crop. He can only protect the entirety if adequate buffers are placed on the project. We oppose this project because neighboring farmers are not protected by adequately designed buffers located on the project land.

YCFB supports a “NO Vote on Measure H”

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9 thoughts on “Yolo County Farm Bureau Opposes DiSC 2022”

  1. Keith Olson

     We point out that every acre of prime farmland lost to urbanization is permanently lost. There is a loss of farmland no matter what ratio is used.  Thus, we oppose this project because 102 prime acres are permanently lost.

    Exactly!  This is the bottom line…

    1. Ron Oertel

      This is also key:  

      YCFB is concerned that DiSC 2022 brings urban uses into a rural area. Neighboring urban uses have very negative impacts on the ability of any adjacent farmer to successfully farm his crop. Almonds are planted on the east side of this proposed project: almond growers need extensive spray buffers to keep the impacts of their materials from affecting incompatible land uses. 300-foot buffers have been suggested: those of us who have had to put on aerial sprays (by helicopter or plane) realize that a 500-foot buffer can be required.

      This reminds me of how mixing “residential” in with “commercial” can also negative impact each other.  And usually end-up dictating the “type” of commercial that’s allowed.  And yet, there’s really been no discussion of that.  (Nor has there been any discussion regarding the need for natural gas by labs, which is provided in every other location.)

      So now, they’re proposing mixing housing, commercial, and farming in the same area, beyond a logical limit for the city.

      I do have one “suggestion”, though. If this thing (along with all of the other proposals for that same area) are going to “save the city” (financially), why doesn’t the entire city move outside of city limits onto prime farmland? And then just abandon the old city, perhaps reverting back to farming? Sounds like that should save some money. 🙂

      Just move on, every time a city experiences such challenges. Sort of like Bodie.

  2. Craig Ross

    I love how the Farm Bureau is suddenly romanticized in these things.  They are not protectors of Ag Land they are the protectors of big agribusiness.  They give millions in an election cycle with a 3 to 1 advantage for conservative candidates. And in this case, they cut off their nose to spite their face because they are supporting preserving farm land over the development of innovative ag tech tools that can make farming more efficient and increase food production.  It’s basically rear guard, status quo protection.

    1. Ron Oertel

      I find it refreshing when they actually want to continue farming, rather than support the conservative business interests that constantly turn prime farmland into housing developments.

       

  3. Don Shor

    I don’t know what motivated the Farm Bureau to weigh in on this project. Did they take a position on the previous iteration? I can’t remember. But I agree that the proximity of the residential part of this project to the adjacent almond orchard is likely to lead to conflicts. Orchards are sprayed a dozen or so times each year. Several of those sprays go upward into the trees and drift is always a concern. With a commercial project, the timing might be manageable to minimize the impact. With people living on site, that would not be feasible.

  4. Dave Hart

    What was the Yolo County Farm Bureau position on the development of Spring Lake in Woodland and the other truly massive associated developments in Woodland in the last 20 years?  I just don’t recall their authoritative voice as part of that or the Woodland Gateway mall with its 100+ acres of asphalt parking lots.  Is this some kind of sudden conversion?

    1. Bill Marshall

      See Alan M’s  1o:58  post…  and I’d add, that it is the local Sierra Club, and look at who is involved with that at the highest levels…

      Individual “agendas” can become a “group agenda”, and vice versa… ’nuff said…

      Neither the Farm Bureau’s stance, nor the local activists in the local Sierra Club will sway my vote… think of a Venn diagram, with 70% + overlap between the two, when it suits them…

      Barring new tangible information (certainly not “endorsements”, one way or the other), I’m set on how I’ll vote… and I was ‘on the fence’ two months ago… seems like some folk are grasping at straws (a by-product of some farming operations)…

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