Colonial-era Goffstown farm seeking OK for dairy
After a lengthy discussion on Sept. 26, the board made a motion on whether the applicant needed a site plan approval, but it was not seconded and the board continued its agenda without a final decision on the matter.
“We took the position that because our farm is over 250 years old, and we’re in an agricultural district, we didn’t need a site plan approval. We were surprised the town needed one,” said James Shirley on Oct. 6. “I believe the majority of the board agrees with us.”
“We are going to be sharing the costs, and Blindow will be responsible for taking care of the equipment and washing the walls,” said James Shirley.
According to the application, the dairy business would produce certified organic raw milk and would be sold to CSA shareholders only and no retail farm stand will be located on the property. The business would use a 100-year-old barn, which would need some renovation and upgrades, including replacing windows and doors, installing hot and cold running water for necessary sinks and dairy equipment, and electrical wiring to support dairy equipment, lighting and heating.
“First, the N.H. Department of Agriculture, Markets and Foods oversees the dairy’s organic certification which includes enforcing federal and state law regarding the environment in which the cows live, the food they eat and the management practices used on the land upon which they graze,” the Shirleys said in their application, “Second, the Department of Health and Human Services, Food Protection Section and Dairy Sanitation Program, through its licensing and regular inspection program, ensures that all state and federal laws applicable to dairies regarding sanitation and public health will be upheld.”
He said he will be bringing the application up for discussion at the Oct. 10 planning board meeting.
During the meeting, the board approved a gray water system that will filter overflow from washing the walls. The milk house has a drain in each room, and the walls will be covered in food-grade plastic for sanitary reasons. The system is set up so the wash water drains into two 750-gallon tanks. A settling tank traps the milk solids and allows the liquid to flow into another tank. The liquid is sprayed over some of the field, said James Shirley.
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