Future of farming in Nevada and access to local grass fed meat is at risk if UNR sells its agriculture assets!

It is VERY rare for us to send out mass emails two days in a row, in fact we ususaly go two weeks in between big news.  However, we are facing a very critical situation for the future of farming in Nevada and our community’s access to local grass and grain fed varieties of meat.

The short and simple is that WE NEED YOU to show up to a town hall meeting on Tuesday February 21 at 5:00pm at the Joe Crowley Student Union to express to the UNR administration and Reno City Council members that they SHOULD not rezone the most 104 fertile acres of the UNR main station farm to light industrial.  OUR COMMUNITY NEEDS ACCESS TO GOOD FOOD, OPPORTUNITIES FOR FUTURE FARMERS TO LEARN and NOT another vacant, sterile commercial concrete complex.  This town hall meeting was mandated by City Council members to UNR because of the LARGE AMOUNT OF PUBLIC OPPOSITION at the City Hall meeting in December.  We need everyone to show up and oppose on Tuesday night and then again (this time bring ALL of your friends and family) at the March city council meeting where the rezoning decision will be finalized.  More details TBA.

You might be wondering what that has to do with Wolf Pack Meats and our access as citizens to locally produced, grass or grain fed beef, pork and lamb?  Currently, 5 of the co-op’s 6 local meat producers all process their meat through Wolf Pack Meats, the State of Nevada’s ONLY full scale, USDA certified, slaughter, process and package facility.  In order for meat to be sold to the public through a retail entity such as the co-op or a local restaurant, the meat needs to be processed in a USDA certified facility.  There are two separate agendas underway with UNR that we are in opposition to:

1.  To rezone the 104 acre parcel of the Mainstation Farm on the McCarran strip to light industrial, which could mean that instead of a fertile area to teach future generations of farmers in Nevada, we will have yet another strip mall.

2.  To create an RFP (request for proposal) to lease Wolf Pack Meats to a private group.  This could very well mean that the facility closes in the short term, leaving our NV beef, pork and lamb producers out in the cold and our consumers with NO access to local meat…AND it could mean that the facility is no longer available as an educational tool for future farmers.

Attached and copied below is a press release that may be of interest to you.  Please forward to interested community members. Thank you for your continued support of Nevada agriculture.

Media contact for Shelley Brant:  775-250-4716

Community Forum Scheduled to Discuss Future of 
UNR Main Station Farm & Wolf Pack Meats

Local food advocate Shelley Brant plans to attend the Community Forum regarding the UNR Main Station Farm re-zoning proposal, and she has a list of questions for University officials. The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, February 21, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m., at Joe Crowley Student Union, University of Nevada, Reno. Doors open at 5:00 p.m.

UNR will host the public forum at the request of the Reno City Council. University officials submitted a request to re-zone 104 acres of the farm from agricultural to light industrial for potential development at the Council meeting in December. UNR officials asked the Council to delay the vote as a result of public outcry over the re-zoning request.

Flooding, public education, further erosion of open-space, and the future of Wolf Pack Meats located near the property are among public concerns. More than 200 citizens attended the December meeting to voice opposition, and an online petition received more than 10,000 signatures.

The future of agricultural education at the University is one of Brant’s main concerns. The 104 acres proposed for re-zoning are among the most fertile on the farm. Additionally, Wolf Pack Meats, a facility for research and teaching, is located directly across from the acreage, and the slaughterhouse would likely be labeled undesirable, rather than a community asset, as development encroaches.

“Colleges across the country are expanding ag education because of the growth of the local food industry. UNR is perfectly situated to offer a unique and highly valuable ag program, and I would like to see the administration rebuild the College of Agriculture to suit 21st century needs,” Brant said. She added that Nevada students are leaving the state for education elsewhere and that Utah State University attributes increased enrollment to Nevada’s lack of agricultural programs.

Free parking for attendees to the Forum will be available on the third and fourth floors of the Whalen Parking Garage, and directional signage will be posted on North Virginia Street. Additional parking is in proximity to the Student Union.

Brant encourages the public to attend. More information about local food can be found at her Local Food Northern Nevada blog,http://lfnn.blogspot.com/.

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