Common sense and practicality…Is there such a thing anymore? Having had the opportunity to participate with the water rally and the State Water Board hearings regarding flows last month, I found myself in disbelief, and saw firsthand how these two concepts don’t seem to exist as continued government red tape flows. Towards the end of the first day’s hearing, there was discussion about trust and coordinated efforts to find a solution that works for everyone. I couldn’t believe my ears, after having heard hours of testimony explaining scientific methods that could work, by agencies that knew what they were talking about, only to be dispelled by the five that hold all of the power. It’s mind blowing and very frustrating to me, so I can only imagine how you as a grower feels, and I don’t blame you for the anger and frustration. Know that here at Madera County Farm Bureau, we do our part to make sure your voices are heard. We’re questioning the decisions being made not only by those in government in Sacramento and DC, but decisions being made by our farm bureau counterparts. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, we have to do this together. I recently sat through a panel discussion with Randy Fiorini (Turlock farmer and chair of the Delta Stewardship Council) and Cannon Michael (President, Bowles Farming), where they both discussed the need for a new approach to solving the problems faced by agriculture. They emphasized the need to focus on the positive, not make the argument about “food vs. fish” (as one example), and to focus on finding the problem, not starting with the solution. Often these contentious conversations start with one person finding a solution for themselves (not for anyone else), and then working towards the problem. If we could all sit down and agree on what the problem is, we could probably get more accomplished. But we all have to participate and communicate. And when I say all, I mean everyone, farmers, residential folks, environmental folks, and government folks, people that you may not always see eye to eye with. It doesn’t matter what we think the solution is, if we can’t all agree on what the problem is. Let me be clear, I’m not talking just about water (the topic on everyone’s mind), I’m talking about everything: labor, immigration, air quality, etc. As one voice we can accomplish much more. I’ll step down from my soapbox now, but I do want to emphasize the importance of your local farm bureau.
My recent rants come from the countless hours of meetings I attend, to ensure that you can continue to farm. I know that most growers nowadays barely have enough time to focus on their crops with all of the paperwork that’s required before they can even operate, and so as your executive director at MCFB, I’m trying to help alleviate the other “pressures”. These are things we can’t do without your support. So, I invite all of you to join us next month at our Annual Meeting and Harvest Celebration on October 28th. Invites will be in your mailboxes soon, and I’d encourage your attendance as we elect the 2018-2019 Board of Directors; discuss this year’s efforts; listen to the comical stylings of Bob Farmer, Farmers Almanac; and partake in some of the best prime rib around the County. In the meantime, best of luck with harvest, and as always please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.