"Farmland plays an important role in the economy and the environment, both in
Mendocino County and statewide," CFBF President Paul Wenger said. "All too often,
public agencies try to convert farmland as a convenient way to address other issues.
But that comes at an environmental cost, and the agencies in the Willits bypass
project didn't work hard enough to review that."
Much of the farmland that would be taken out of production for the bypass would be
converted to wetlands, to make up for loss of existing wetlands in the path of the
"We don't oppose the bypass, but we do oppose the potential for an extraordinarily
high loss of farmland that the agencies would require to build it and to mitigate
for its wetlands impacts," CFBF Associate Counsel Kari Fisher said. "For every acre
of wetlands the agencies want to mitigate, they would impact 30 acres of farmland.
That significant impact would have a ripple effect on the area's agricultural-based
economy, particularly for the farming and ranching families who would lose their
In its motion, Farm Bureau asks the court to require the agencies to conduct
adequate environmental review of the impact on farmland and to prohibit action on
the project until the agencies complete that review.
The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on
behalf of more than 74,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of
more than 6.2 million Farm Bureau members.