Agricultural Commissions

By Jan Sevene, Monadnock Localvore Project

What is an Agricultural Commission (AGCOM)?  New Hampshire communities are able to establish agricultural commissions “… for the proper recognition, promotion, enhancement, encouragement, use, management, and protection of agriculture and agricultural resources, tangible or intangible, that are valued for their economic, aesthetic, cultural, historic, or community significance within their natural, built, or cultural contexts.”

AGCOM’s can be called upon to assist with farm-related problems or contribute to planning boards who are developing master plans.  They can also work to educate the public about farming and farm interests in a community.

Tracie Smith, operator of Tracie’s Community Farm LLC and member of Fitzwilliam’s AGCOM, says, “It will give agriculture a chance to explain to the town its needs when making important decisions, as well as give the faces of agriculture more recognition.  Keeping agricultural needs in mind when the town makes decisions… means keeping food in our communities as well the open spaces that come with it.”

Another Fitzwilliam AGCOM member, Brian Doerpholz adds, “I have found most people receptive (to an agricultural commission)… It gives Ag a voice at the local level.” Doerpholz encourages people to join the NHAGCOMM website, review Lorraine Merrill’s publication on Agricultural Commissions and utilize resources at the Cheshire County Conservation District.

How to Start

Any individual resident or group can start an AGCOM by first initiating a warrant article, which once voted in, enables the local legislative body to establish an agricultural commission. Several New Hampshire communities have already established AGCOMs, or are in the process of doing so.

Support your local agriculture. Find out where your community stands.

Agricultural Commission Resources:

Creating an Agricultural Commission in Your Hometown
By Lorraine Stuart Merrill
New Hampshire Coalition for Sustaining Agriculture
http://www.nh.gov/agric/documents/agcom.pdf

Cheshire County Conservation District
Amanda Costello, District Manager
11 Industrial Parkway
Walpole, NH 03608
(603) 756-2988 ext. 116
amanda.costello@nh.nacdnet.net
http://www.cheshireconservation.org

Agricultural Commissions
Juli Brussell, Program Leader, Agricultural Resources
UNH Cooperative Extension
59 College Road, Taylor Hall
Durham, NH, 03824-3587
(603) 862-2033
juli.brussell@unh.edu
http://www.extension.unh.edu
http://extension.unh.edu/Agric/AgComm/NHAGComm/NHAGComm.htm

New Hampshire Coalition for Sustaining Agriculture
Nada Haddad, Extension Educator, Agricultural Resources
UNH Cooperative Extension, Rockingham County
113 North Road, Brentwood, NH 03833
(603) 679-5616
nada.haddad@unh.edu
http://www.extension.unh.edu

NHAGCOMM
http://groups.google.com/group/NHAGCOMM/feeds

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