Farmers band together in tech country

The president of the Washington County Farm Bureau leads the fight to protect farmland in an area increasingly dominated by tech companies.

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Dave Vanasche, the president of the Washington County Farm Bureau, is leading the fight to protect farmland from development as major companies such as Intel, Genentech and SolarWorld expand on formerly rural properties.

Vanasche is a key influence in pushing Metro to designate more rural reserves rather than urban reserves.

Washington County farmland is “ground zero” for issues that arise when urban and rural collide: subdivisions adjacent to fields, neighbors who object to farmers’ dust. long hours and equipment noise, water rights, traffic on rural roads and the idea of setting aside land for wildlife or as natural areas.

As a result, traditionally taciturn farm bureau members coalesced around a belief: “If you’re in farming, you should be protecting the land,” says [Jim Johnson] of the state agriculture department.

“They’re very intelligent farmers, and Dave’s the epitome of that,” he says. “Over my 30 years of land-use planning, it never ceases to amaze me how farmers will get involved when they have to.”

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{biztweet}Dave Vanasche{/biztweet}