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Ross proposes 'right to farm' law

A proposed countywide "right to farm" law was introduced into the Niagara County Legislature on Tuesday. Vice Chairman William L. Ross, C-Wheatfield, offered the resolution, which was sent to the Economic Development Committee.

Also sent to committee was a companion resolution urging Congress to pass liberalized immigration laws allowing farmers to hire aliens as farm workers.

"With the agricultural interest being so important, any way we can help them, protect them [is important]," Ross said.

Up until now, the right-to-farm issue has been dealt with on the town level in Niagara County. A few towns have either passed or are currently considering measures protecting farmers from complaints from neighbors, who might have moved in from nonfarming areas, about equipment noise and farm odors.

Legislator Gerald K. Farnham, R-Lockport, chairman of the county Farmland Protection Board, said that board already has countywide right-to-farm regulations in force.

"Over the last 35 years, we've lost a tremendous amount of industry in Niagara County. Agriculture was always important, but now it has priority status," Ross said. "We don't want to see unharvested crops laying in the fields."

Ross said when the measure appears on the agenda of the Legislature's Economic Development Committee, likely next Wednesday, Niagara County Farm Bureau President Paul Bencal will be invited to address the committee.

e-mail: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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