FFA, 4-H exceptions discussed at Atascadero Council meeting
—The Atascadero City Council heard concerns about the farm code during the community forum section of the city council meeting on Mar. 27 after a local family says they were harassed for legally having farm animals on their property.
Jamie and her family have raised FFA and 4-H youth project animals for ten years and she noted that the harassment began in Jan. after an anonymous source complained. At this time there were no youth project animals on the family’s property. The police contacted the family about the violation; however, the farm code holds “youth program ordinances” that has exceptions for FFA and 4-H animals.
“It does cause concern because there are anonymous complaints backing up the code enforcement system and using resources for complaints that are unfounded and whoever the person is filing the complaint is doing it all anonymously so we have no way to educate this person or persons what the processes are here in our city,” said Jaime at the meeting.
The family has been verified by the Atascadero Police Department’s code enforcement, Mayor Tom O’Malley, and the city manager Rachelle Rickard and deemed complaint. Jaime asked the council to look at how to best bring attention to the ordinances and how to educate the public on the youth program exceptions so other families will not be harassed.
“The city of Atascadero has always been very supportive of FFA and 4-H,” said Jaime at the meeting, while also noting that San Luis Obispo County has the highest enrollment rate in 4-H in all of California and that local FFA chapters are successful.