Rochester's Right to Farm is clear with new signs

Sep 27, 2014

If there was ever any question that Rochester is a farming community, new signs have popped up at the town lines that leave no doubt.

Rochester residents voted to accept a Right to Farm bylaw at the 2012 Fall Town Meeting. The bylaw alerts residents to the fact that their neighbors have a right to perform “normal farming activities.”

“One of the more common problems is that somebody moves close to a cranberry bog and then finds out that pumps go off at three o’clock in the morning, and they want to complain to the farmer. It’s the farmer’s right to run the pumps when he needs to,” said David Smith, chair of the Rochester Agricultural Commission.

In September, the Commission went a step further to reinforcing that idea with new street signs that are being posted at the town limits.

The signs feature a silhouette of a man on a tractor with the words “Rochester A Right To Farm Community.”

Smith said the sign was designed by the Commission. A total of 14 will be posted.

“We hope it will give [visitors] a positive feeling that they’re coming into an area that supports farming,” said Smith. “We think it’s a positive thing. We want to keep a lot of open space and not have a lot of development.”

So do many who want to move into town.

Said Smith, “I talked to a few realtors that feel it’s a selling point when they’re trying to sell to perspective homeowners.”

As part of the bylaw, anyone who moves into town will receive a notice that they are in a Right to Farm town, a designation recognized by the state. New property owners are required to sign a disclosure notification on the bylaw as well.

In conjunction with the new signs, the Agricultural Commission has published a brochure explaining the Right to Farm bylaw.

It is available at the Town Hall and Plumb Library.