In last week’s Town-Crier, an article appeared titled “Moratorium Stops Lox Code From Shutting Home Hay Biz.” In this article, Loxahatchee Groves Town Councilman Ron Jarriel is quoted. “From the road, you wouldn’t know that they had a hay sale there,” Jarriel said. “They’ve got a beautiful piece of land, and most of the hay sales [are to] their neighbors. When I can buy hay a lot cheaper from my neighbor than I can at the Red Barn or Tractor Supply, I appreciate that break.”
I am a resident of B Road and involved in a “home-based” agricultural business. My husband is also part owner of Red Barn Feed & Supply. This statement by Councilman Jarriel is unfortunately a reflection of the current national trend of bashing businesses. I appreciate the fact that Councilman Jarriel also mentions Tractor Supply (of which there is not one in our community) to defray his focus on Red Barn. I am not certain if Councilman Jarriel has ever purchased hay in the community and is even aware of what hay is available from hay retailers. It might also behoove Councilman Jarriel to do some additional research on the Eicks’ hay business. This particular home-based business brings traffic in from surrounding communities as well as the delivery of hay via tractor trailers. These trailers have caused damage to the fencing of the neighbor directly across from the Eicks’ driveway as well as blocked traffic on B Road when they become wedged due to crossing the inadequate bridge to their property. He might also like to check with the Eicks (their customers may as well) to see if the Eicks maintain the proper liability insurance for their products. They are liable if a horse becomes sick or dies from eating their hay.
I don’t believe hay sales involving the delivery of an “agricultural product” to your property for you to retail is necessarily an appropriate definition of a legitimate ag business, but that is not for me to decide. It is by nature a broad definition and should be.
As for Red Barn Feed & Supply and Councilman Jarriel’s singling out this business, Red Barn is one of the premier legitimate commercial ventures in our boundaries. As such, they pay all the appropriate commercial use taxes and maintain the property to commercial codes.
In addition to providing hay of comparable quality and price (as the Eicks) to the community, Red Barn provides additional products and expertise that far outstrip what one could expect to find at a business such as the Eicks. Red Barn has also served as a base for community information exchange and in the event of catastrophic events has helped the community in numerous ways including providing water and ice during hurricane relief.
I ask Councilman Jarriel if in the future he would consider his comments before he speaks. Loxahatchee Groves is crawling with illegitimate as well as legitimate businesses, and for him to single out the one business which for a fact is legal and whose contributions far exceeds that of many businesses to the community of Loxahatchee Groves, is inconsiderate at best and liable at worst.
Lisa Hyslop, Oak Hammock Farm, Loxahatchee Groves