Right to Farm Act passes in Montrose County
MONTROSE, Colo. (KREX) — For most, ranching isn’t a job. It’s a tradition passed down through families like the Etcharts. “Father came to the United States in 1947 as a shepherd from the Basque country in France,” said sheep farmer Ernie Etchart.
Before commercial buildings, Sheep Rancher Ernie Etchart recalls simpler times in Montrose. Etchart attests: “Here, everything was ag and ag only. I mean maybe a little mining. Maybe a little wood, but the ag was the big driver.
In addition to the beautiful views, agriculture is an economic driver for the community. “It provides revenue to Montrose County,” Etchart said.
Besides the monetary gain, Etchart wants to recognize the history of ranching in the county. He said: “There’s a long-standing tradition, a long-standing heritage, a long-standing history here.”
The farming scene has changed since it first arrived in Montrose County in the late 1800s. A way of life that was once heavily dependent on farm life now seems to be lurking in the shadow of community growth. “Ag does his thing on the outskirts of town, it’s quiet,” Etchart said.
Montrose County commissioners supported the Right to Farm Act, and ranchers like Ernie believe it will benefit newcomers. Etchart mentioned, “Raise awareness and give people a chance to do their research and see if this is what they want to experience.”
The farming lifestyle has a lot to offer, from fresh food to open spaces. “It’s a habit for wildlife, it’s something other than the sidewalk in town that they can come and see, and maybe come and experience,” says Etchart.
Breeders and farmers work to produce the best possible product. While most like Ernie are grateful the county reintroduced the Right to Farm Act. Developments that suck up land and water amid the drought remain a serious challenge.
Etchart thinks “it will be a challenge to work with and overcome.” If ranchers and farmers can’t get by. “Our only recourse is that we will have to sell,” Etchart said.
Etchart thinks it all comes down to one simple thing. “The mutual understanding of our needs and concerns and the ability to find a way to resolve this issue so that we can be viable and remain viable,” echoed Etchart.