Date: August 17, 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DEM Meeting Which Severely Impacts Farmers Still On
RHODE ISLAND -- Members of the RI House Minority Caucus who called upon Governor Gina M. Raimondo to require RI DEM Director Janet Coit, to reschedule a meeting which will severely impact farmers, will meet, but additional date expected to be scheduled.
On Wednesday, August 17, 2016, at 5:30 p.m. the RI DEM is conducting a “Farmland Acquisition Rules and Regulations” workshop. Concern among Republicans that the workshop is an effort to bring the small business farms in Rhode Island under state control and to divert the money to future efforts to advance the administration's RhodeMapRI led to House Minority Caucus members calling for the meeting to be rescheduled.
In an email addressing Representative Robert’s concerns, Director of DEM Janet Coit responded by saying, “This is an opportunity for the Department to get valuable feedback on draft Rules & Regulations for the Farmland Acquisition Program, an initiative to promote agriculture by ensuring that farmland stays in farming. We are gathering input, and at an early stage of our regulatory process – that is, we have not even moved forward yet with a draft regulation. As you might imagine, it is too late to canceltonight’s meeting; so, I cannot follow through on your request to do so. However, our mutual aim is to share and gather information. Thus, I would be happy to schedule another stakeholder forum for a time that is more convenient for farmers. We would be pleased to get your recommendation on an appropriate date and time, and we will continue to work with the Farm Bureau and others agriculture interests to develop and refine this program.”
Representative Roberts has written to Director Coit, asking that an additional date be scheduled, and has selected Wednesday, September 7, 2016 at 5:30 p.m. and asks the meeting take place in Southern Rhode Island, a much more convenient location for farmers.