February is well underway, with blossom season fast approaching. As you all prepare for blossom, I’d like to provide a little food for thought. When I think of blossoms (in general) I think of bees and butterflies…Agriculture has done a good job in helping the bee population as much as possible by creating habitat, but we now face a new struggle, the butterfly. Most are unaware that the Monarch Butterfly population has been in decline. Due to the decline, there was a petition filed to list the Monarch as an endangered species. Locally, Farm Bureau has been working with CFBF, NRCS and Xerces to find out what we can do to help. In an effort to help, I have been reaching out to local landowners encouraging “Property Beautification Projects”. No one wants to see the loss of the Monarch Butterfly, so why not have Agriculture step up and help with the solution. Farmers are great stewards of the land, and with simple methods, we can get ahead of the problem, and help save the butterfly. All too often Agriculture is late to the table, resulting in defensive measures against whatever is coming our way. If the Monarch gets listed, farming will face a whole new set of regulations…So let’s get on the offense, and help fix the problem. Essentially these Property Beautification Projects require planting milkweed, or hedgerows and/or ground cover with specific plant/flower species. I know, why would you want to plant a weed? I ask you why not? If planting a weed that is easily managed helps keep the butterfly off the list, why not? If you would like more information regarding habitat, or efforts that are underway, please feel free to contact me directly at (559)377-0200.
On another note, I want to mention a couple of other things to keep in mind…There have been many changes to the labor laws effective January 1, 2018. Please make sure to update your OSHA posters. MCFB has the complete sets available at a discounted price for members.
MCFB has several training workshops scheduled in the near future. Please make sure to send your employees for their yearly updates on pesticide handling, heat illness, and tractor safety, etc. Information on the individual workshops can be found online at www.maderfb.com.
The other highlight of the current season is scholarships! As your high school seniors prepare for college admissions please make sure to have them check out our scholarship applications available through their school counselors and our office. Applications can be found on our website. Madera County Farm Bureau has been proud to award $45,000 each year for the last several years to deserving students in Madera County. Those scholarships are made possible by the support of our members and community, through our Annual Wine and Beer Tasting event. This year the event will once again be held at Peters Brothers Nursery on May 6, 2018. If you would like to sponsor the event, purchase tickets or just get more information about our scholarship program, please contact the office.
Enjoy the weather, but make sure to continue to pray for rain.
I’ll leave you all with this, “The butterflies…What an educated sense of beauty they have. They seem only an ornament to society, and yet, if they were gone, how substantial would be their loss”-Phil Robinson (not much different from the plight ag faces every day).