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Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, February 21, 2024


Crop farmers in Bordeaux voiced their dismay Wednesday night over a lease agreement approved several years ago favoring livestock farmers. The growers said the Senate approved the lease to the St. Thomas Livestock Association without their knowledge or input.
The crop farmers, some of whom have been farming the Bordeaux land for 20 years, said they had tried to get leases in the past, but were told they had to have a survey, according to Thursday's Independent.
Gerald Hodge of We Grow Food Inc. told the Senate Economic Development, Agriculture and Consumer Protection Committee that before the growers were able to get a survey, the livestock association got a federal grant and did its own survey.
Before crop farmers could voice their opinion, the livestock farmers got a lease approved by the Senate, according to Hodge.
Sheila Schulterbrandt of the livestock group said the crop farmers are on the land "illegally," and the livestock farmers are hampered in their attempts to fully utilize the leased land, the Independent story said.
George Dudley, attorney for We Grow Food Inc., said attempts to meet with the livestock group to discuss an agreement to divide the land have failed.
Sen. David Jones, committee chairman, said it is time to come to an agreement or agriculture will never move forward.
The Independent quoted Sen. Donald "Ducks" Cole as saying the 1994 lease to the livestock group is not in the community's best interest.
"We need to put our collective minds together, have the livestock association and the crop farmers sit down and come to an agreement not only to what is best for them but what is best for the community," Cole said.

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