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Agricultural Commission lacks quorum

Date: 6/23/2009

By Katelyn Gendron

Reminder Assistant Editor

AGAWAM -- The City Council unanimously approved the formation of the anticipated Agricultural Commission at its May 4 meeting but according to the mayor's office, only one person has applied to for the five-member board.

The commission, appointed by Mayor Susan Dawson, would serve in an advisory capacity to town officials seeking guidance on agricultural development and maintenance.

"I'm not concerned that [only] one [person] has applied," Dawson told Reminder Publications, adding that those who petitioned for the commission have yet to apply.

"As much as I hate to say it would be a waste of time, I think it would be," Lenny Blews, owner of Aspen Hill Farm in Feeding Hills, said of joining the commission. "Those who make things happen are farmers [and] there are those who watch and those who wonder and [they] are politicians.

"It's very hard to get things done that don't apply to them [town officials]," he continued. "Trying to get a horse crossing sign out here would take an act of Congress."

Michael Cecchi, an owner of E. Cecchi Farms in Feeding Hills, did not share Blews' sentiments, calling the Agricultural Commission "a good idea."

"It can't hurt [to have the commission]," he said. "We [farmers] are doing okay. I don't necessarily think it's the responsibility of the town [to help us] ... if we have issues, whether the economy or marketing, we're not looking for a bailout; you've got to go out and address those issues [yourself]."

Cecchi added that in order to remain a viable enterprise, local farmers must continue to offer "value and service."

Dawson noted that those wishing to apply for a spot on the commission must be Agawam residents or owners of agricultural property within town limits.

Applicants must send a letter of interest to the attention of Rebecca Budreau, Mayor's Office, 36 Main St., Agawam MA 01001.