I’ve seen a couple presentations from the Rural Economic Development staff of Loudoun County lately, and there are a few things that strike me:
1) There seems to be a lot of talk about “value added agriculture”…there being a built in assumption that we should be telling farmers how much they can or cannot be “processing” the food that they produce, and whether ancillary products and services should be treated the same as agriculture.
2) There is also a lot of talk about “amenities” that we should be providing for horses and other farmers, lest they decide to move elsewhere.
Though I’m EXCESSIVELY excited and enthusiastically in support of allowing farmers to do whatever they damn well please on their own property and making a living however they see fit within what is moral and legal anywhere else in the County, I’m NOT completely sure they should be able to provide the same services and “value-added” anything without being subject to the same regulations and taxes as everyone else in the county.
Which begs the very simple choice:
Do we force agriculture businesses to be subject to the same guidelines as the rest of the county, or do we finally acknowledge that all the fire codes, permits, zoning regulations, etc, etc, do very little to actually improve or guarantee public safety? If they don’t need it in Western Loudoun on a winery, then they must not need it in Ashburn at Clyde’s…right?