It took 16 months to bring a new agricultural mitigation policy to a vote, and after last-minute conflicts of interest barred 4 of the 5 supervisors from participating and voting in the discussion. The conflicts in question, that the four were all farmers, would have sank any action had it not been for a creative drawing-of-straws that allowed two supervisors to rejoin the debate.

The three supervisors deliberated a broad, omnibus policy that would have completed the long-awaited overhaul of the County’s farmland preservation rules. However, all three would have to vote to support the updated policy in order for it to pass and Supervisor Dick Monteith refused to vote for the policy until it was rewritten to address greenhouse gas emissions.

The latest iteration of the policy included language that impacted rural windmills and solar plants, but failed to include language about greenhouse gasses. According to the County, the general plan is being updated separately to address greenhouse gas emissions.

In an attempt to seek a compromise, the other two participating supervisors asked to address the policy in pieces, hoping to at least pass the less controversial issues. However, Monteith refused to vote on anything less than the complete package.

Read the full story at the Modesto Bee.