Deputy Chief of Forbush Fire Department Barry McLean was recognized at Monday’s meeting of the Yadkin County Board of Commissioners. Last month McLean was named Firefighter of the Year by the North Carolina State Firefighters Association, which represents more than 51,000 firefighters across the state.
McLean leads the Forbush Fire Department’s efforts of public education and community risk reduction, including a program to install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in area homes.
County Manager Lisa Hughes congratulated McLean on his award and thanked him for his leadership within the Forbush fire district and around the county.
Justin Somers of Yadkin County Farm Bureau addressed the board on the issue of the 2018 NC Farm Act (Senate Bill 711). The bill enacts certain changes to agriculture laws in the state. The purpose of the Farm Act, Somers said, is to protect farmers in the state from being sued by neighboring landowners due to unpleasant odors and noises associated with farming. Somers asked the board to approve a resolution in support of the 2018 NC Farm Act as Yadkin County has 952 farms with 100,483 acres of farm land and provides 21 percent of jobs in the county.
“Our farmers are being faced with uncertainty from the federal government, with the [federal] Farm Bill up in the air and the vital fail safes that are provided through it, Congress’s inability to act and provide a legal farm workforce and tariffs that are making it harder for local farmers to get their products off the shore in North Carolina,” Somers said.
He said farmers are used to dealing with weather issues such as this year’s unseasonably dry then wet growing season, but additional factors have made this year increasingly difficult for area farmers.
The 2018 NC Farm Act, Somers said, does help in “setting the ship aright” in preventing “frivolous lawsuits against the state’s farmers who are in compliance and not breaking the law.”
He added this was not only an issue for hog farmers in the eastern part of the state.
“I’m here to tell you that these lawsuits and the precedent that is being set, without the NC Farm Act, have broad implications on all our state’s farms and agriculture communities,” Somers said.
The board approved the resolution in support of the 2018 NC Farm Act.
Also approved at the meeting was a budget amendment to appropriate the matching $282,000 Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF) grant funds from the general fund to begin the second phase of the Yadkin County Memorial Park at Lake Hampton.
The board approved a position reclassification for an environmental health program specialist as well.
At the close of Monday’s meeting, Hughes and each of the commissioners praised the work of emergency personnel and other county staff members and local volunteers who were on call all week monitoring and preparing for Hurricane Florence.
Commissioner Kevin Austin, chairman of the board of commissioners, said he saw “Yadkin County at its best” as staff and volunteers worked together to prepare for the worst as the unpredictable storm front made its way across the state.
The next meeting of the Yadkin County Board of Commissioners will be at 9 a.m on Oct. 1.
Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-518-3049 or on Twitter and Instagram @RippleReporterK.