The agricultural community now appears to be on board with a new program that would add incentives, instead of regulations, for environmental protection.

A handful of groups representing Skagit County’s farmers plan to sound off in support of the county enrolling in a state Voluntary Stewardship Program at a hearing on Nov. 1. The program was approved by the Legislature this spring as a solution to the contentious and long-debated issue of protecting critical habitat areas, such as the banks of streams, while also maintaining agricultural production.

At the workshop two months ago, representatives from the Agricultural Advisory Board, which makes recommendations to the county, had said they were still undecided about the program.

But after further research and a nearly unanimous vote in favor of the program at a recent meeting, the board now plans to formally recommend that the county enroll in the program, chairman Nels Lagerlund said Wednesday.

Read the full story in Friday's Skagit Valley Herald

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