Annual Meeting – Whatcom County Farm Bureau

It is the time for our annual Whatcom County Farm Bureau meeting.

When: Thursday, October 26, 2017
6:30 PM – Business Meeting: Director Elections & Bylaw Changes
7:30 PM – Program & Dessert

Where: Mt. Baker Rotary Bldg. at Northwest Washington Fair – 1775 Front Street, Lynden, WA

Who’s Invited: We invite & encourage all Whatcom County Farm Bureau Members and supporters of agriculture to attend one or both of these meetings. No RSVP needed & no cost to attend.

The speaker this year is Kent Oostra, CEO of Exact Scientific Services Inc. He will speak on tracking pollution sources through DNA testing of water samples. Question & answer time will be included. We’ll also have updates on the past year’s activities of Whatcom Farm Bureau and some of the current issues we face. To read a bit about the DNA testing project here in Whatcom County go here: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/…/loc…/article175563101.html

To review the proposed bylaw changes go here.

Questions – contact Leslie at 360-354-1155 or Melodie at whatcomfarmbureau@gmail.com

Proposed Changes to Bylaws

Article l – MEMBERS

Section 1. QUALIFICATIONS

Only persons, families and partnerships, unincorporated associations and corporations organized for agricultural purposes, actively engaged in the production of agricultural products, or in agribusiness, including lessees and tenants of land used for the production of such products: lessors and landlords who receive as rent, $2,500 either in kind or cash, all or part of the crop raised on the leased or rented premises are eligible for a voting membership in this organization.

(Agribusiness is defined as an entity engaged in the manufacture or distribution of farm equipment and supplies, the processing, storage, or distribution of farm commodities.)

Other persons, partnerships, unincorporated associations or corporations interested in agriculture may make application to become either a non-voting associate or business member in this organization. (Approved by Board on 9/19/17) 

Article II – BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Section 1. ELECTION OF BOARD OF DIRECTORS

All voting members are eligible to be nominated for the position of director at the annual meeting and then elected by the voting members present. Up to 2 director positions may be filled by agribusiness voting members. There shall be nine director positions. (Approved by Board on 9/19/17)

Section 2. TERMS

Length of terms shall be three years with three directors coming up for election every year. Term limits for directors are three terms of three years each with a year off before becoming eligible again. Terms begin and end on the date of the Whatcom County Annual Meeting. (Updated and approved 10/27/15)

Section 3. QUORUM

Five or more board members shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business of the Farm Bureau. A majority of the Board members in attendance shall in the presence of a quorum, decide its action.

Section 4. VACANCY

In case of any vacancies in the Board of Directors or officers through death, resignation, disqualification, or otherwise, the remaining members of the Board of Directors may elect a successor, having the qualifications herein prescribed for directors, to hold office for the unexpired portion of the term of office of director or officer whose place shall be vacant.

Section 5. MEETINGS

The Board of Directors shall normally hold regular monthly meetings.  The president may call Special Meetings.  Special meetings may be held via email, conference call, or other forms of communication in order to address time sensitive decisions. (Updated and approved 10/27/15)

Section 6. DIRECTOR RESPONSIBILITIES

Each Director must keep their Farm Bureau membership current. (Approved by Board on 6/20/17)

Section 67. FALURE TO ATTEND MEETINGS

In the event of continued failure on the part of the member of the Board of Directors to attend regular or special meetings of the Board, the member shall be notified by the president of the automatic suspension from the Board after missing three consecutive meetings without just cause.

Section 8. REMOVAL OF DIRECTORS

Any Director can be removed from their position by a two-thirds vote of the Board of Directors. (Approved by Board on 6/20/17)

Article III – OFFICERS

Section 1. OFFICERS

The officers of this organization shall be President, First Vice-president, Second Vice-President, Secretary-Treasurer or Secretary and Treasurer and such other officers as may be deemed necessary, such other officers to be created by resolution of the Board of Directors. The President and First and Second Vice-President must be members of this organization in good standing whose principal occupation and interest is farming. (Approved by Board on 9/19/17)

Click here to view current our bylaws.

Requiring Farm Plans – Pending County Law – Information Meeting

Thursday, October 19 at 7 PM – 9 PM

Mt. Baker Rotary Bldg.  Northwest Washington Fair

1775 Front St. Lynden, WA 98264

We, along with 5 other agricultural organizations, have been working on giving County Council feedback on their changes to the Critical Areas ordinance since last fall.

A major issue has come up in the last couple of weeks in the County Council’s review of the Critical Areas Ordinance. Per Whatcom County Planning and Development staff’s suggestion, the County Council has adopted wording that would require anyone who has more than one animal unit (1000lb) per three acres of grazable land to obtain a farm plan.

We need you to speak up and tell County Council how this will effect you. This meeting is an opportunity to come and learn more about where things are at, what you can do now, and much more. We will have our lawyer who has been helping us in submitting the comments and keeping on top of what County Council has been doing there as well.

Come to learn and take action.

Call to Action for Livestock Owners

A major issue has come up in the last couple of weeks in the County Council’s review of the Critical Areas Ordinance.

Per Whatcom County Planning and Development staff’s suggestion, the County Council has adopted wording that would require anyone who has more than one animal unit (1000lb) per three acres of grazable land to obtain a farm plan.

A steer, for example, often weighs over one thousand pounds, so two steers would not be allowed on three acres without a Farm Plan.

County staff and the Council seem to believe that most small or hobby farms will fit into this exemption category, but we believe that this ratio is unlikely to exempt very many animal farmers. We also believe that the 1 Animal Unit to 3 grazable acres ratio is overly restrictive. There is no way that one cow or horse will generate enough nutrients to overload even one acre of grazable pasture.

Farm Plans will be an extra cost for small animal farms and will discourage people from keeping livestock. They are also unnecessary where there are no problems with nutrient management and runoff into waterways.

We need to let the Council know this policy is overly restrictive and will affect many.

What can you do?

• Share this information with your neighbors and friends.
• Email the County Council at council@co.whatcom.wa.us
• Come to the County Council meeting at the Council Chambers on Oct. 24. Tell them how this will affect you and ask them to remove this requirement.