Editorial: Help keep farming alive

  • Wednesday, June 20, 2007 5:00pm
  • Opinion

Farming in Island County isn’t what it once was, but that doesn’t mean it has no future. It’s good to see that farmers are getting organized and trying to define what that future is and how to get there.

With the closure last month of the Sherman family dairy, Whidbey Island no longer has a commercial dairy industry. But perhaps it could again if farmers can develop a local market for cheese and other dairy products. No doubt the products would have to be produced organically and sold from local outlets. The same can be said of meat and produce. If they can be grown locally and sold locally, perhaps the farmers that produce them can make a profit.

There probably won’t be a lot of full-time farmers in Island County’s future, but small farmers should be able to make a profit on what they grow. For this to happen, they’ll need new farming skills and, more importantly, help with marketing. And Whidbey Islanders can all help farmers by frequenting the farmers markets, buying directly from farms, and supporting whatever marketing efforts are developed in the future.

Island County WSU Extension has embarked on an effort to help farmers figure out how to grow their income. After all, farming has no future if there’s no profit in it. Farmers will get together and share ideas Monday, June 25, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Coupeville Recreation Hall. They’d probably be open to good ideas from non-farmers, as all islanders have a stake in seeing that we have a farming future. For more information about the meeting call 678-7992 or visit www.island.wsu.edu.

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