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Bob Larson Dairy Farmers Settle With Lummi Nation Pt 3
by Bob Larson, click here for bio

Program: Washington State Farm Bureau Report
Date: January 12, 2017

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I’m Bob Larson. Working together is better than working against each other. That explains the agreement reached last week between the Lummi Nation and seven Whatcom County dairy farmers to clean up Portage Bay and resume shellfish harvesting.

Rich Appel is one of the dairy farmers who helped negotiate the deal and says it beats the alternative …

RICH APPEL … “Yeah, absolutely. I think, ya know, having a relationship with the tribe and showing, I think, how we operate our farms, getting that transparency is important. When we looked around and we see other farmers and tribes that have figured out how to work together, it’s always the best solution. And we felt like that, for both their shell harvesters and for the farmers, the best thing that could happen is to have a working relationship between the two.”

Appel says the agreement … had to happen …

RICH APPEL “Ya know, I think we saw that if lawsuits were to come in the county, I think overall Ag is very vulnerable from this kind of thing, and if lawsuits would have come to these several farms we feel it very likely would have been the end of those farms. I don’t if anybody could withstand a lawsuit and a lot of dollars would be spent by both the tribes and the farmers and you’re not solving the problem.”

Solving the problem includes both sides working together with experts to develop Water Quality Improvement Plans for individual farms.

Roughly 735 acres of shellfish beds in Portage Bay were closed in September 2014.

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