At a recent DeWitt County public hearing, county board candidate Megan Myers publicly stated that she believed that the private property rights of farmers in DeWitt County should be restricted based on the obstruction of view shed to surrounding residential neighbors.
For years now, this has been a key legislative and regulatory fight of the Farm Bureau and its members. The key issue, people moving to rural settings for the express intent of living the “rural life” on small acreage plots designated and zoned for agricultural purposes. What these new residents sometimes fail to understand is that their view is of our business and our livelihood. They come for beautiful vistas overlooking wind swept corn fields but could not tell you the price of corn or beans, cannot grasp the struggle we had with yields due to weather last year, or understand how the development of ground for explicit residential use impacts the economic sustainability of central Illinois farming operations.
These regulatory fights are not new or uncommon to the Illinois farmer. The Modern Farmer recently had an article on how 31 million acres of farmland has been lost due to the development of residential property in the last two decades. With that has come suburbanite neighbors who commonly protest smells, noise, and changes to the landscape always citing the same reason, “I moved out to the country and built my dream home, for the nice quite country life.”
Our neighbors in McLean County had to pass zoning ordinances requiring a minimum of 40 acre lots in which the purchaser had to prove their homestead was explicitly being used for farming operations. The Illinois Farm Bureau for the past several years has fought to keep statewide permitting of hog operations with the Illinois Department of Agriculture. This regulatory process was put in place to protect pork producers from their residential neighbors. Neighbors who moved out to the country and did not view hog operations as a part of the rural aesthetic they had always dreamed of.
It is for these reasons that farmers in DeWitt County should consider voting for Dave Newberg and Jay Wickenhauser for District C. These candidates have a proven track record of protecting the private property of farmers in DeWitt County.
In addition, while other new county board members refused to even attend any finance committee meetings concerning the budget, Newberg and Wickenhauser worked tirelessly to pass a budget that protected residents from tax-increases. DeWitt County needs thoughtful and steady leadership not children playing political games, speaking of sending messages to Springfield, with aspirations of running for higher office in the back of their minds.