Thursday, April 01, 2004

Country humor alert!

Here's a hoot - City dwellers get a genuine whiff of life near a farm:
That stinky odor wafting out of western Michigan these days may resemble manure, but for Mark Knudsen it's the sweet smell of success.

Knudsen knows that newcomers to rural Ottawa County might not agree. That's why he helped develop a pamphlet designed to open the eyes -- and nostrils -- of folks looking to move to the country.

A brochure titled "If You Are Thinking About Moving To The Country ... " gives prospective country dwellers a shovelful of reality, right down to the scratch-and-sniff manure patch.
The pamphlet is here, without the scratch-and-sniff of course.
Knudsen, director of Ottawa County's planning and grants department, said the problem comes from city dwellers who arrive from places like Grand Rapids and Grand Haven with unrealistic expectations of life near the farm.

"They complain about tractors, the noise and more than anything they gripe about the smell of manure," Knudsen said. "I wanted to do something to help cut into the 100 complaints filed every year."
"There has been a substantial growth in new complaints in recent years and they have been related to a growing new residential population in some areas of the state," said Vicki Pontz, who supervises the Right to Farm complaints received by the Michigan Agriculture Department.

Michigan enacted a Right to Farm act in 1981 that gave nuisance protection to farmers who follow appropriate procedures for matters such as manure management and livestock, according to Scott Piggott of the Michigan Farm Bureau.
Why didn't I guess that lawyers would be involved? They probably object to folks taking target practice of a Saturday too.

But it wasn't easy putting the pamplet together:
Idea in place, Knudsen set out to find a company that would produce a foul-smelling scratch-and-sniff. Most turned up their noses.

"It took a while to find a company willing to take on the project -- most of them are involved in these foo-foo scents like perfumes," Knudsen said. "I mean, would you want to be working on it? And then we had to go through a series of about four dozen different scents until we came to one that was just right. That was no picnic, either."

The company, in Chattanooga, Tenn., at one point had to evacuate its plant during printing because the manure smell became overwhelming. The scratch-and-sniff does not contain actual manure but an oil-based substance whose smell resembles it.
Hmm, they could use the same scratch-and-sniff patch for the Democrat platform at the convention.