Tonight I went with my FFA students and my lead Agriculture Teacher from Culleoka to the annual Farm Bureau Policy Dinner. They invite FFA chapters and 4-H to these events every year. Now I want to address somethings I heard, and somethings that I spoke on while there. Impact fees was a topic and yes it impacts family farms as property taxes rise because the Realtor and developer lobbies spend to block progress. The Maury County Farm Bureau expressed its desire for participation from the Tennessee Farm Bureau as to date they are neutral, which is simply supporting it quietly, so either they need to get on board with our land owners or state they don’t care. I explained to a crowd that this should be a bipartisan issue because it impacts all of us but Republicans taking money from The Real estate lobby don’t care if you get priced out of your land by county commissioners having to raise taxes due to growth.
Another opportunity for me to share as a horticulture teacher is my desire to see more state funded agriculture professions. I want to plant fruit trees in our parks and along our streets, to naturally cool the area, filter out carbon dioxide, increase water vapor and filtered ground water by taking care of these plants, having arborist and orchard farmers prune these plants, and allow for all who have need to be able to pick their own fruit and berries.
Another topic that I found interesting was an lady from Bedford County, discussed how she was needing to sell off her cattle as her nearly century owned family farm was too robust for her to operate as her mother is now well into her nineties, and she is looking to make her farmland into a wildlife refuge with reforestation of trees, native shrubs, and grasslands. The problem is the desire of the TWRA is there to support her efforts, but our codes and taxation policies are not. I think her plan is wonderful and we need to make this more available for change and will work for that.
Finally a fellow Maury Countian started to complain about the Biden Administration for restoring the waterways guidelines that Trump curtailed in 2019. He gripes about this dangerous socialist agenda, so the so called “socialist” explained that the issue that was fixed is saving farms like yours not harming it. Maury, Williamson, and Hickman countians present all remember the #SaveLickCreek movement because a company had paid to pump water out of Cheatham County into a facility in Dickson County to pipe the wastewater through Williamson County down Lick Creek in Santa Fe, Fly, Primm Springs, and Bon Aqua. It was going to contaminate the well and spring water of those rural areas. This action isn’t something small farmers should fear. It is something big business paid to let your farms fail.
Non agricultural note Farm Bureau is dead wrong in their support for Right To Work, that is a garbage amendment that needs to die.