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Kane looking to make farms a priority

Updated: March 21, 2013 6:29AM

The Kane County Board launched an Agricultural Committee on Tuesday, and with it came a request from board Chairman Chris Lauzen to determine what the biggest impacts are on one of Kane’s biggest businesses.

Kane County land planner Janice Hill spoke with the committee about shifting some of the priorities of the county’s farmland protection program, which began receiving federal funding in 2002.

“The number one deal is keeping farmland farmland,” committee Chairman T.R. Smith said.

The program has received more than $19 million in riverboat funding, and $12 million in federal funding over the last 10 years. With that money, they county has preserved 5,231 acres on 30 Kane County farms at no additional cost to taxpayers.

The program currently places a priority on the county’s biggest farms. Hill suggested changing it so that any farms specializing in produce, meats or dairy might also receive prioritization.

Hill suggested that the committee evaluate relationships between the Northern Illinois Food Bank and the agriculture community in order to distribute food to the county’s most vulnerable citizens.

Potential changes to the farmland protection program will be discussed again at the committee’s next meeting.

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