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Eugene Holds Hearing on Farm Animals

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EUGENE, Ore. — A big item on the Eugene City Council’s agenda Tuesday night could increase how many farm animals people can keep in their backyard.

The Eugene Backyard Farmer is a prime example of how popular urban farming has become. Owner Bill Bezuk owns the store, which specializes in urban farming–a greener way of life that’s quickly catching on.

“There’s a great deal of pride when you sit down at your dinner table in the evening, look down on the plate and realize that everything on that plate is something that you produced,” Bezuk said.

He wants all of his customers to know about the city council’s hearing, which will look at allowing people to own more farm animals.

Eugene residents would be able to have up to 12 chickens–a big increase from the current limit of two–and beekeepers could house bee hives in their own backyard.

“They recognize that so many people are raising their own food in their own backyard, and it’s important to have regulations that match up with the reality that’s happening,” Bezuk said.

Some of the plans from the city will require farmers to build enclosed shelters for the animals. Certain animals like roosters would be banned from urban homes. The plans also put an emphasis on sanitation and fencing, which could mean more expenses for urban farmers.

Bezuk fears that not all of the proposed changes are necessarily helpful for urban farmers.

“Unfortunately, there are some issues with the regulations that can be more restrictive to urban farming than the intention originally was,” Bezuk said.

The city of Eugene says it understands complaints like these, but there’s more than just farmers who need to be taken into account.

“That really is the ultimate goal, to address computability for neighbors that are maybe non-farming people,” said Kristie Brown, City of Eugene Land Use Analyst.

But it’s something the city has to take on with so many people starting to farm in their own backyard.

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