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I think about preserving and protecting this land every day.

It is because of the small family farmer and winemaker that we have the Agricultural Preserve, and that housing has not taken over our hillsides like other once-ag counties like Santa Clara. The early wine grapegrowing and winemaking pioneers recognized that agriculture is the highest and best use of the land, and the greatest way to protect the scenic beauty.

The family farmers make Napa Valley unique; they provide the authentic care connection the land that is shared with the world through farming, winemaking and storytelling.

Other wine regions, such as Paso Robles, Santa Barbara, Mendocino, and Suisun Valley, which sits under our nose, do not have the restrictive land use policy that we do. This limits our competitive ability to be adaptive to change, and difficult to maintain sustainability.

Napa is positioned to be passed up by these places, because they are more affordable, farming friendly, and young people are flocking to these areas.

Most importantly, they are producing wines of equal to the quality of Napa.

Family farmers are the best environmental stewards for our land. My children are sixth generation and future farmers, but we will not be able to sustain our family farming heritage if we continue to build layer upon layer of land use policy – policies that are an answer to a problems we do not have!

This county’s conservation regulations should be based on science and driven by data. In the past, changes in Napa’s policies have been made when a problem has been identified and data has been substantiated.

We learned from the Measure C campaign that our community pains are related to traffic, housing and the concern for protected water. Our municipal bodies of water are clean, replenishing, and healthy.

For assurance, the county is going to create protective buffers around the municipal watersheds, and protect 78,000 acres by no longer allowing development on slopes greater than 30 percent. That is great. However this new “Watershed Protection Ordinance” was created by a defensive Board of Supervisors and goes too far, to claiming much private land.

We need to hold in high regard the family farmers, and our importance to the sustainability of Napa Valley, and that you demand that our Board of Supervisors prioritize the immediate real problems that threaten our valley, and impact our day to day lives: traffic and the lack of housing.

Harvest Duhig

Napa

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