ML: He's one of those people you look to [pause] help out-
ML: and generally willing to help.
GC: So should we go ahead and get started?
ML: Sure absolutely.
AG: You going to shut the door or leave it open?
ML: I'm going to go ahead and shut it.
GC: Umm, so- I'm
GC: And if you could just spell your name for transcription.
ML: M-A-R-I-O-N L-Y-T-L-E.
GC: Thanks. And your age? It's what we ask everyone.
AG: You can lie on that, its ok. [Laughter]
GC: Yeah, Adele always does. She gives a different estimate every time. Um, so uh, first of all I was just curious how you ended up here, in this position in
ML: No, actually I uh, [pause] met my wife- well my only wife. At uh,
AG: Now how'd you go from geology to county planner?
ML: Well I got a masters in public administration-
AG: There ya go.
ML: And uh, I did an internship in a small town and realized that I probably didn't want to town manager, which would be one of the natural things.
GC: Where was that?
AG: Yeah. I know where
ML: And uh, [pause] I also was a planner in
GC: And so you went to Department of City and Regional Planning?
ML: No, I went to- I got a public administration, masters of public administration.
GC: Ok, that's it.
ML: From uh- from
GC: Ok got it.
ML: I have a public administration degree.
GC: Got it, got it. Um, and where did you grow up?
ML: Uh, east of
ML: In a community called
ML: Which historically was a farming community and now is a product of rural gentrification. A lot of rich people moved out there. Used to be the redneck area of the county, now it's the ritzy area.
GC: It's in the same county? It's in
ML: Yes, in the eastern side of the county. [Pause] It's a very beautiful area, and my grandfather was a farmer - dirt farmer up in the mountains. So I've always had a natural inclination towards farming.
AG: Did your dad farm at all? Or helped out on? He grew up farming?
ML: He grew up farming- uh, you know, by that time farming in the mountains [pause], unless you were a tobacco farmer was not very profitable and uh- he uh, his family was a large family and his parents died early and they were split up. So he did not farm. Well, I mean-we, you know we raise cattle and stuff but we didn't really truly farm.
ML: And I look now - when we built a house we built out in western
AG: Where's the church you go to?
AG: Yeah, ok! Isn't that cool- uh,
ML: What's that?
ML: He was buried there?
AG: Umhm, yep. Well he's still alive, Margaret, Aunt Margaret died.
ML: Oh Margaret died!
AG: Yeah, umhm.
ML: I'm sorry- I-
AG: That's ok- no that's ok.
ML: And I was- when you said that I was thinking, uh, I was thinking of somebody else.
AG: Um, there's a bunch of farmers that go-
AG: Doing good, you know.
ML: I don't see him out in the yard as much.
AG: No, no, no. He can't see at all. He- he can see a little bit, but somebody goes over and stays with him and sits with him- he doesn't garden like he used to.
AG: He's a good farmer. He was.
ML: Oh he had a heck of a garden!
AG: Uhhuh. He-
ML: I'm sure he was a good farmer, too.
AG: Yep. He had good vegetables.
GC: So- but- and so you- that's sort of natural or comfortable for you because you grew up in a farming area and now you're living in one again- or is that-
ML: Absolutely! Yeah, I mean some of the happiest times in my life are on my grandfather's farm. You know, I used to think it was heaven and looking back at the pictures by that time he was older and it was just a very run down farm. But when he- when my grandmother passed away, I was sixteen. My grandfather died when I was six, my grandmother passed away- one of my mother's sisters bought the farm, her and her husband, and they built the farm back up and its still- its now an active beef farm. So that farm is- and there's actually an voluntary farmland preservation program.
AG: That's great.
GC: When you say where you're from you say here- at this point?
ML: Yes. I'm from
GC: How long has it been?
ML: Seventeen years, this- seventeen years this January.
GC: Um, what do you think, uh, if you were to describe what makes that area, where you live now, west
ML: [Pause] I think that it has a [pause] western
ML: I guess it's the
AG: I was speaking about another
ML: Oh yeah, right, right. The
ML: Uh, and it's a beautiful area, I mean it just a lovely part of the world. And there's still areas out there that don't look that different than they did thirty-forty years ago- not many- but there's some and its just a wonderful place to be.
GC: What about environmentally- how would you characterize it in terms of just the certain natural features of it or- well including the agricultural features, but-
ML: Environmentally in what sense?
GC: Just like- I mean-
ML: The terrain?
GC: Yeah, umhm.
ML: Uh, its rolling, its mostly open land, uh, I mean its typical upland Piedmont soil. You don't really see a lot of uh, hardwoods and if you look at where the hardwoods are in my opinion, uh, the standing hardwood forests tend to be where you really can't farm; where its really rocky or whatever. And if you look at the soils' layers, but its uh, basically a mix of open, there's still a lot of cropland out there. And there- there's a lot of pasture land uh, I think one thing you see out there that probably is uh, part of that sense of pride in that area. I thank the farmers for what the current practices were, the farmers were, a lot of the farmers tended to be pretty environmentally conscious from the farming standpoint. There were exceptions the
AG: We still see a couple of those every once in a while.
ML: Well I mean- you know my land's terraced.
ML: And my land, you know, its grown up in woods. Ever- I mean terracing was very common out there, and still is and you can't really tell land was terraced until you walk on it if its been overgrown. But I mean its uh, I think there was a real sense of uh, [pause] uh, of being- doing farming the right way. You know you have- you have farmers out there that uh- people that aren't farming now but take pride in being a Class A dairy, and they were a Class A dairy, and you know the
GC: What does that mean?
ML: It's just- its just uh, I'm not sure exactly, but it relates to the quality of the milk, the cleanliness of the operation, it can be used for the highest- you get the highest grading, the highest price. And a lot of its sanitation and how you cattle- the health you cattle; just the whole quality of the milk. So I think that- that- that community out there has always had a real sense of being- doing farming right and being proud of farming. And that sense is still there even though, you know, a lot of the people- the farmers are less and less. The sense of wanting to keep the community that way is there.
ML: And from the standpoint of what I do, uh, which is land use and zoning [pause] there's been a lot of strong support in many areas out there. Much, I mean there was support out there in the western part of the county when nobody else would support. The farmers in western
AG: We can tell you, we talked to
ML: And you- uh,
GC: I see.
ML: When I came in
AG: Umhm, that's pretty big.
ML: Another 4,000 square foot barn and breezeways, I mean you're talking- they're building about 12,000 square feet, to their existing
AG: Where's that going to be?
ML: Up on
GC: So that would be permissible under the agriculture overlay?
ML: Yes, it would be permissible under the general's only.
GC: Oh ok. Sure.
GC: That even under the agricultural overlay that would be acceptable? [Pause] How is that being used now, that agricultural overlay?
ML: Its really only being used for people that [sigh] that really just want it. So it really needs to be applied to a broader area.
ML: And even if something within that area is rezoned at that point in time you have more control over a subdivision, or whatever. If it happen to come through the rezoning process, you can put conditions as far a buffering and clustering, or more, you know, more neo-traditional smart growth kind of things, you can make them do that. Our ordinance isn't set up to do that kind of stuff out right.
GC: Umhm. [Pause]
AG: Is that-
GC: So it's kind of- Its by- I'm sorry.
AG: Its only by request, that- that's not something- is that something you all are looking at- at ah, stricter zoning, or enforced, or um-
ML: Well, what- we got two things going on now, of course we ask you to be on one of the boards but because of your schedule you couldn't do it- the
ML: In western
GC: So there is no land use plan at this point?
ML: There's no land use plan.
ML: And to be honest, to play the other side of the issue, to- to do that type of thing from a regulatory standpoint, is very honorous. It is- you know, you start talking about the kind of zoning you have to do to really protect farm land, you know, you're going to get- even the
AG: Umhm. Umhm. Everybody we've talked to-
ML: Oh yeah. They're the one- they were some of the ones that came in and wanted some stricter zoning up front.
ML: It wouldn't have stopped Patterson Farms but uh, those people, the
AG: Is that the one off
ML: I think so.
AG: Its like a- oh what's it- it's like a mid-state machine? Is that what you're talking about?
ML: No, no. This is one down there, right- right off
AG: So you know,
AG: on this end. So we've got a nice chunk right there. But
AG: to him. He has nothing in place. So you're saying that a subdivision can go in there?
AG: With no, you know no thought.
ML: No zoning notice.
AG: No zoning notice.
ML: I mean you have to put in roads and stuff like that.
ML: Absolutely. Its-
AG: So if he passes away tomorrow, and his three daughters- who live in
ML: Just like
GC: And so- so that's what you're trying to address, with this plan and-
ML: That's- that will be one of the hot issues in the plan. It will address everything. It will address everything from multifamily, high density development to uh, you know, farmland preservation. Another thing that's happening now, uh, is we have a farmland preservation board that is just been started in the county and we actually have $375,000 to buy development rights. Between the county- the county is actually funded money to buy development rights. Its not as much as some of the commissioners wanted but we have a program in place and uh, you know, that's stunning for
GC: So- yeah it's a great start.
ML: Absolutely, and you know it will be enough to do a farm or two, and I'm working right now to do some mapping and you came to the meetings where we went over the point systems. And we've had farmers review it. I mean, you know, we've done a lot of work, and that work was done a couple of years ago [pause] and by January we hoped to have a farm or two recommended for purchase of development rights and it'd be done through the land trust. They'd be the ones administering the adhesiveness.
GC: Oh ok. I was going to ask that.
ML: But uh, you know that's exciting and you know if you can get a
AG: I'm sorry to say there's a chunk right there.
AG: And- and they both- I interviewed them a year and half ago and
ML: Right. And you know it's a matter of, you know- but once again back to the equity issue, and then you've got to understand they've got to get some money out of it. They're giving up a huge- huge- huge [pause] amount of money over the next twenty years. And you know, I don't- I think it's a great program, I think it's the way to go but I think-
GC: So your concern is that people be aware of what this involves, and not think its worse than it is, but also realize what it is?
GC: And what kind of sacrifice-
ML: Right, and Jason and Andy- the land trust they do a good job, they don't- I mean they try to sell, that's their job, and I try and sell it, but you know, I'm not going to try be a used car sales man.
ML: It's a big step. And I think that's a good interim step but you know, to really [pause] you know I think
GC: The limit on the voluntary is- is the funding- basically, right?
GC: I mean you just can't come up with the millions and millions that it would take to do that on that scale?
ML: And another issue with the county is um, [pause] the land out there, is the land that septic tanks and if- if developers could develop like for example down right on
AG: We can control it.
ML: You can control it, you can put it where it belongs, and you know, I think the on- the interstate, you know around the existing towns, uh, that- that's what- that's part of what needs to come out of this policy. Everybody agrees with that, but you talk about money, you know, run a major sewer line, we talking $200-$300 a foot. You start running three or four miles and you know, then you got to run it off of that line to service specific properties. So-
GC: So you're trying to incorporate sort of smart growth principles with clustering and having- having more density here and then being able to have open space?
ML: Yeah. And the real issue of the county is nobody's been able to give me the right answer to this, yet. If you don't have a place for the developers to develop a higher density how do you employ smart growth out in the county; it's a different kind of smart growth than you'll talk about in
ML: Uh, you know, you can just shut down development and then you'll have that group of commissioners voted out and everything will be undone. But you got to find that balance and you got to find, is it going to be you know, the cluster subdivisions and conservation areas around? You got- you got to sell some developer the idea that you can go out there only develop a third of that land and keep the rest of forested and make money. And you have to sell it to the community.
GC: I live in- my family lives in
ML: Right. The problem with us is with sewer you can't increase the density. I mean wha- I mean the septic tanks you can't- that's the part's that missing. You can't- you've gotta have twenty-twenty-five thousand square feet for a house and umbrella septic tank. That's-
ML: That's the way it is. And the southern part of the county is in watershed, you got to have an acre there for a septic tank. Forty thousand square feet; and that's where all the prime farm land is. So you know you've got regulatory and just pure- I guess engineering issues with septic tanks. And you can do smart growth in other ways, you can do conservation easements uh, you can do greenways you know, you can do some clustering to a degree.
GC: Yeah, but you're saying- yeah, that's a good point that that limits that.
ML: And nobody's been able to come up with- unless you just shut it down- what you do out there.
GC: So you don't see- you don't see water and sewer being run there anytime?
ML: No, no, and I- and you wouldn't want it out there.
GC: It'd bring development like crazy?
ML: You want water and sewer but we have a backbone you know, down 70 uh, nope, sorry- yeah down 70 but also down
ML: But what they also have at the new, you know,
ML: Like- I mean its that- that- that's the downside of smart growth and I'm no- I'm not a Kool-Aid drinker with smart growth; I'll be honest with you. There are a lot of problems I have with it.
ML: And one of 'em is nobody you know, nobody's been able to come up with a truly affordable housing, and a lot of things with smart growth you know, the profiles for roads and sidewalks and bypass- I'm a big bike rider; I love sidewalks and greenways and all that stuff, but they drive the cost of road up. You know you start putting sidewalks on both sides and a plant strip; you know you may add, you know ten-fifteen thousand dollars to a lot. And you know if you're on the margin that's a lot. So I don't know what the answer is there.
GC: Right, I mean, I- not trying to be an apologist for what
ML: No, I- I- I think that
GC: Yeah, you're right, you're right.
GC: So, you think there will a combination of ultimately of regulatory and voluntary programs?
ML: Yeah, and I think the voluntary in the sense that there needs to be- there needs to be continued funding of the development lots. And I think if you do that uh, you got to maintain a critical mass of farming in the county. And I'm talking true farming; you know the dairy farmers and the
AG: It is hard.
GC: Yeah, what do you see in terms of the land use trends in past couple of decades and looking into the future, in terms of what the actual picture of it is out there right now?
ML: What- what you had in the early- late 80s, early 90s is you had, uh- we became the [pause] the location of choice for manufactured housing developers.
AG: No, it's true. I went to South.
ML: That's a fact, you know that's why- that's why its not developing up around northern
GC: Because they don't want-
ML: That's not- that's not the only reason, but that's a lot of the reason. And you have people that can come out and buy uh, land and have a relatively quiet lifestyle and drive down to
GC: So you think its at this point is it- is most of the development still relatively affordable, as in double-wides or small house equivalents or is it getting more sort of large as is upscale kind of thing?
ML: The time of the mobile home in
AG: No rhyme or reason.
ML: I doesn't- no rhyme or reason, its just part of the landscape. It's been part of
AG: Was the development there when
ML: It was done before;
AG: 'Cause she pretty much- she said she moved away- I think she was in
AG: But now, what- what happens if um, if this money becomes available for development rights; what happens if you see, you know, this- this big influx of interest from farmers that- that are ready to sign up- they're ready to have their farms ranked? Is that going to change you're attitude even a little bit more, and say, we've got all these farmers, they're willing to do this, so you know, is that going to change anything?
ML: You mean as far as my views on the regulations?
ML: Well, I think- I think that would be one of the best ways to keep the critical mass of farmers, but it would not be as affective in keeping the rural vistas. Uh, if you want zoning protection and I zone your property, that's not going to help you a lot because your neighbors aren't zoned that way. To buy a farm, develop rights on that farm, is going to protect that farm, its not going to protect the land around the farm. So if the ultimate goal is to keep this rural lifestyle and this rural air, this rural feel, you know, to allow people that don't live there to go out and see all the pretty angus cattle, I mean its got to be- it has to be more ultimately than purchase development rights. Purchase development rights I think would be very good in keeping [pause] areas in active farming. And I think uh, that's got to be part of the mix, but I think if you want to protect the- the views and the vistas, and uh, you know, the viewscape or the viewship of whatever then you need-
GC: And the continuity.
ML: The continuity. And even if- even if development did occur out there; that it not be, you know, the traditional, you know- layout out the lots and not screening or buffering, and don't try to maintain trees and- so it's got- I think ultimately if that's the goal then that has to be part of the mix. Because unless there's some major change in our economy, the land will be- continue to be gobbled up.
GC: What is the goal as far as you're concerned? Is that it? Or I mean in other words to look at- sort of maintain a rural landscape, of that kind? [Pause]
ML: I- we'll find out what the goal is. With the Land Use Plan we'll find out. That's something that I want to promote that is at the goal of the county.
GC: I mean I was talking more personally; what's your vision of it?
ML: I- I would like to do that. I would like to find a good balance between the rights of those property owners and maintaining that [pause] and, you know, I'm part of the problem, I went out and their farm was cut up and bought it. So [Laughter] It was close to the town of
AG: And how long do you think it will take to put something like that or to find out what everybody wants and to put something like that in place? Are you talking about over the next couple years?
ML: Yes, the Land Use Plan is about an eighteen month project. And then there will be public hearings and after that, you know, you'll probably look at going through zoning text amendments. And sometimes that, when it- is when it gets really kind of hairy because you're actually saying- people actually finally understand that, you know, you're saying that- that I can't do this. And then sometimes it maybe after that is in place people aren't paying attention and will come into that county to want to do something we tell them they can't.
AG: Are you gonna- you mentioned, like, open forums and big town meetings, when you guys get to that point, are you gonna have it in the Salisbury Post, uh, how will it be communicated that- mainly through the post and publications?
ML: Mainly through the- yeah and we're planning to have at least three meetings at each of the high schools.
ML: And it's going to- we've hung our hat on the geographic representation- geographic areas defined by the high schools. We've got west, south, and east, and then
AG: Some- some things that I've found that- I talked to
ML: Right, and that's- that's a good point and uh, in the defense of other people there's really only a very short season, which you can communicate to the farmers and that's, you know, December, January, February, you know. They have their farm meetings and then the rest of the time the people that are truly farming you can't get 'em to come to meetings because, you know Darryl missed a meeting yesterday morning I'm sure 'cause he was getting ready- getting something ready to combine some beans. I mean, you know, so you know, you have a short window with that you know, what we hope-
GC: Right, we tried to set up interviews and we know-
AG: Oh we tried! [Laughter]
ML: Oh absolutely! Absolutely, you know we have voluntary farm land preservation- we have a- the first two or three in the state was done out of this office. And we still, you know we- our staff demands have had to be pushed to more pressing matters, but that will come back. I have a very good staff person. You know one problem we have here is we just- we have very few planners on staff; we have three. And I've gotten a lot of people added to my staff but you know they can't just double it. You know, we don't have anybody truly committed to long range planning and that's something that has been brought up and it's very true. I'm very interested in that, but also I deal with [pause] the old lady who you know, I mean Wednesday I spent 30 minutes on the phone with this old lady right on
AG: You deal with all the time.
ML: Yeah, I mean it- it's, this week's been a bad week, but ultimately you know, I'm over-zoning and sometimes it comes up to me, and you know and sometimes compromises are made that they can't make that I can make. I mean its- I wish I could spend more time doing it. I'm spending a lot of time doing it, uh, a lot of my current zoning duties are being turned over to another planner. But one thing we don't have that I think gets to what you're saying is we don't have a long range planning position persons; all they do is long range planning. We got to where we need to have one.
GC: Rather than day to day.
ML: Right, long range versus current.
GC: More like envisioning.
ML: Current planning is what-
AG: That- that's what Darryl (Blackwater), when I talked to him on the phone, that's one thing you know, he'll tell you in a heart- he- that's what he said that we're lacking in this county. We don't have any long term, long range goals. We can't look that far ahead. Listen, I don't mean the next five or ten years, I mean, he said long, long, long term and that- that's kinda out of the mix too.
AG: You know, but what do you do about that though?
ML: Well, you know, you start off with the land use plan uh, the county- I'm sorry the meeting- Darryl missed the meeting [pause] last Thursday, yesterday was a strategic planning commission that's getting started to try to keep the county in a strategic planning mode. We had one done and may that not necessarily address uh, farming issues, but the last strategic plan- one of the big things that came out of it was getting the Land Use Plan done. It's taken us five years to get to the point where we'll get funded; this is $150,000 project.
ML: And its going to be "turn key" job, you know, I'm clearly going to need to spend a huge amount of time tracking this because I'm the one that's going to be implementing it.
AG: They're more than welcome to use the interviews we've done. Uh, they're going to transcribe them and you can pull the information-
ML: I'll do that.
GC: Yeah, I was going to say, I mean, if one thing that you've mentioned is- is the need of documentation of support for farming and for conservation uses and so forth, we don't have obviously, a statistically large number, randomized sample, but we have voice, and we have images to go with it.
GC: So if that becomes useful, you know.
ML: I'll let 'em know; whichever one you choose, and uh-
AG: We have a chunk, in
ML: Yeah, and you know, they're very aware of- I just looked at- they took these pictures; they got farming on that one. And that's somewhere in
GC: So you think this will be a five year process?
ML: Well this Land Use Plan will be about an eighteen, twenty-four month process, and then after that you get into, you know, you'd hope within in another year- year and a half you would be getting the zoning in place.
GC: The ordinance.
ML: The ordinance changes and that kinda stuff.
GC: And you'll actually regulate.
ML: And the real issue's going to be this next budget year is getting this farmland preservation program, having fund to continue. Whether- even if its another $150,000 bucks; just keeping it alive-
AG: Exactly, keeping it going.
ML: You know, until the economy turns around, until there's, you know, the revenues for the county are a little
ML: I'm not- you know, I'm not as up on a lot of that stuff as I uh, need to be, but we had a farmland preservation forum in
GC: Oh yeah, I was there.
AG: Yeah, I was there.
GC: We were all there. We didn't know each other at the time.
ML: That's something- that's something we did, you know, we were kind of the staff behind there- the FCDC did it.
AG: And to me- I left there, I felt pretty good.
AG: That was two- three years ago?
ML: And, you know, I went back and pulled up the new articles off the internet. But you know, that seventy million bucks is gone. AG/
ML: You that didn't happen.
GC: Well a lot of budgeting.
ML: Well also, the people that were championing that are gone.
AG: That balances out.
ML: Fact-[inaudible speech]
AG: Callahan is gone.
ML: They're gone. So I mean, its coming back down to the local, and you got the feds up here, which, you know, surprisingly do have some money. And uh, you know, we've done- I think we've done a good job in getting the county in position to use it. You know, that FCDC, you know, that- part of this point system was part of the FCDC effort because you had leaders that are not farmers, as well as farming leaders pushing it. And I think that's something this-this county has is a strong [pause] well has a strong leadership in Salisbury that are not farmers but are very interested in trying to work with the farming community.
AG: That's nice to hear. Stay blunt, you know.
ML: Even like Bill- even our current
ML: Economic Development Commission. And, you know, our current [pause]
AG: That's nice to hear.
ML: He will; he chose not to run, I mean I remember it part of the redistricting and stuff.
AG: Well, he had a new baby, but then he emailed me and I said "Well, ok we'll see you around in a couple of years." So I know he's going to- which I know is good because with his background, so that's something to look forward to.
ML: Absolutely. [Pause]
AG: God, I hate politics, but [mumbles] its aweful.
ML: What else do you got, I'm going to need to head on out in a few minutes.
GC: Yeah, I know you got to- well I mean
ML: We've covered a lot of ground.
GC: Yeah, I think we did, um, so it sounds like- I mean one of the main challenges is how to enable the people who want to protect their farms to do so, while at the same time not compromising the ability of people to- END OF TAPE 1 SIDE A START OF TAPE 1 SIDE B
GC: -the ability of people to make money off of their land? When you come right down to it.
ML: Well, I think you've got to recognize, you know, I've got some retirement funds and that type of stuff, nothing too extent- extensive. But, you know-
GC: That's the land.
ML: If- if I can stay here another, you know, twelve-fifteen years, I'll have a good retirement, and these people don't have that.
ML: They don't have health insurance, they, you know, if- its just like
ML: I mean, and he had the community all behind him, our church raised a bunch of money for him. You know ten thousand bucks for somebody in his situation is just a drop in a bucket. And, you know, you've got recognize that. There's got to be a balance, uh, a planner,
AG: Umhm. Hmm, hmm, hmm.
ML: So what else?
AG: You got anything else?
GC: But you do hope, yourself, that working- I mean, as you say an actual functioning farm landscape is part of part of the picture.
ML: I think it has to be, I think that's the rational for the whole effort. You know, you can't just expect to have an area with a pretty good drive by without having some economic viability there.
AG: [mumbles] Find it usefull.
ML: And you know, that's, you know, the only way you can keep uh, three, four hundred acres, you know, from being developed is to have some viable economic use. There are other issues out there, you know, something I've talked about is sometime of tax breaks for people that want to leave land, and- like mature forests. You know the way- [Cell phone rings]
GC: Oh, sorry that's me. That's probably Jason. [laughter]
ML: Afraid that might be-
AG: Yeah, it's Jason. Now, one good thing that we've learned, and we've talked to
ML: You've got
AG: -and you got, you know, we've got plenty of young farmers in this area that want to keep going that have kids growing up and I out of six farm kids, one or two is going to want to take over the business.
ML: It looks like even- I can't keep Terry and Jerry straight, you know one of 'em's daughter married a guy that's worked on the farm, Chad, uh, [pause] anyway, anyway they go to our church and you know, I mean, like you said, you've got
AG: Umhm, oh yeah, yeah.
ML: And there are people that want to be in farming.
ML: And you've got the
AG: I don't think so.
ML: And uh, he is a hay farmer, and that's how he keeps that land going. He's got a full-time job and he work 24 hours and he's off 48, and he's
AG: He can still do that- the fire
ML: And I think you- well look at
ML: He lives across from St. Luke's. Got the-
AG: I know where that is, but I didn't know that was-
ML: Yeah, they work at
AG: They still do it.
ML: Vigorous, vibrant [pause] feed supply that basically- primarily cater to horse people. He grows a lot of his own stuff, he's got his- that's an example of an agricultural business wheel right out there, but he's also farming a huge amount of land.
AG: Yeah, umhm.
ML: So you got- I think-
AG: We've got some good, smart- we've got some smart young farmers too that they've all mentioned that they've kind of found their niche; that you have to now. And even
AG: "Agritainment," which is- it's worked for him, with the rock quarry and the catering, and its still part of it, he's still using a private farm at the rock quarry that wasn't being used at all- back in the woods. So they're all pretty sharp and-
GC: Randall does that, too.
AG: Yep, they're all- they're pretty sharp and they've got some really good ideas and that they know they've got to find their niche. The one's that haven't found their niche are looking for it. So the one's we've talked to are really passionate about it. A lot of the other farm owners, say like
ML: Right, and that's part of the whole development right thing. Once those development rights are sold then you'd talked about selling it for, you know, a "farming price" as opposed to a "development price." You're talking about the day's dollar a $3,000 per acre versus $10,000. But down in southern
AG: No, they can't, and that's the problem. With the- some of these farms come up for, you know, they're available and the farmers, you know, Even Randall said we can't buy every single chunk of land, especially when they compete with development prices.
ML: Right, and that's the thing about the development rights, you know, then you back it back down to where it's going to a farming rate by definition.
AG: Exactly. Yep,
ML: Now where's that at?
ML: And they're lucky that people like that buy it to get it back- and I do have to leave very quickly- uh, where I grew up at, the road I grew up on there were doctors and merchants came out and bought farms intact and kept 'em intact-
AG: Umhm, they can afford it.
ML: and then build their $100,000 barns. But you know, that- that's- but the development rights I think will keep- help keep that critical mass going.
ML: And help provide a way for the "Brian Moore's", and the "Brian Moores' kids." You know, when that comes along, they get to the farming age to be able to sustain farming, because you've got land out there they can buy.
AG: Exactly. Exactly, and we've got good farmland, too. It'd be a shame to watch all of it-
AG: just go. How do you feel about, uh,
ML: Well she's right. There- there's not much farmland left in
AG: Umhm. Oh no, it's gone.
ML: And we still have some prime areas left in out county.
AG: Umhm, yep. Looking forward to meeting her.
GC: Well, thank you so much. We appreciate you taking a little time.
ML: Sure. Well, I've enjoyed the talk, I don't mean to sound like-
GC: Oh no! No!
AG: We appreciate it.
GC: I know your time is limited.