To the Journal editor:
During the Forsyth Township vs Shady Grove Farm U.P. LLC hearing that took place in Marquette County Circuit Court last week, it became apparent that there is uncertainty among locally elected officials as to what is deemed valuable to our community.
Here you have a single family, the Buchlers, living on 6.5 acres of land with a garden, 150 egg-laying hens (give or take a few) and eight wooly sheep.
The township claims that these are excessive farming practices for the area that would ultimately decrease the value of the land and therefore the tax revenue received. The only word I can think of to describe this is hogwash.
The Buchlers' own neighbors testified that they barely notice that the farm is there, love the fact that people are using the land, benefit from the farm personally, and have had their own property taxes steadily go up regardless of any agricultural practices next door.
It's also worth noting that the Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program environmentally certified the farm and the products that come from it are certified naturally grown, which means they do not utilize any harmful chemicals such as herbicides and pesticides. If only the same could be said about all the green lawns along the same lake.
The truth is that the Buchlers are a great asset to the community. Not only do they grow great food that is beyond organic, but they also run the Gwinn Farmer's Market, organize community events, and give free tours of their farm to local school children. Their own daughter is also involved with the 4-H club. You may have seen her animals at the county fair.
With the country's unemployment rate relatively high these days, you would think that our local municipalities would be recognizing and honoring folks that do what it takes to provide for themselves while making the area around them a little better.
Forsyth Township should be ashamed of itself for taking action against the Buchlers, especially since the last time I heard news from the Gwinn area the schools were in dire need of funding and real estate sales were at a standstill.
It seems the tax dollars spent in court could be used elsewhere.