80 acres gets permanent farmland designation —

80 acres gets permanent farmland designation

Diane Brooks, Feb. 27, 2008, Seattle Times - Snohomish Bureau
80 acres gets permanent farmland designation

The Werkhoven Dairy was selected by the state Wildlife and Recreation Program last year for inclusion in the farmland-preservation program.

Two farms totaling 80 acres in the Tualco Valley south of Monroe will be permanently protected for agricultural uses through a state program that helps cities and counties purchase development rights.

The Broers Organic Berry Farm and the Werkhoven Dairy were selected by the state Wildlife and Recreation Program last year for inclusion in the farmland-preservation program.

Last week, the Snohomish County Council approved the purchases.

"There's increasing pressure to break up farmlands," said County Councilman Dave Somers. "What we're doing is, for all time, saying, 'This is going to stay farmland.' "

The state program stipulates that land protected through the farmland-preservation program may never be converted, said Dan Haws, a state project manager.

"Once those funds are given to a county or a city, it is into perpetuity," he said.

Broers, at 18228 Tualco Road, will sell development rights to its 52 upland acres to the county for about $546,000. The fourth-generation farm produces strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, marionberries and blueberries for farmers markets, farm stands and wine.

It also markets itself as a family destination for picking berries.

Werkhoven Dairy, at 17829 Tualco Loop Road, will sell development rights to its 28 upland acres for about $286,000. The fourth-generation dairy contracts with Darigold.
Both businesses will continue to be operated by the owners.

The state grants will cover 50 percent of the purchase costs. The balance will come fromfunds received through aU.S Department of Agriculture program.

The Broers and Werkhoven farms are adjacent to another farm already protected though the state program.

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