President’s Message – February 2015

DOES THE FUTURE OF MADERA COUNTY INCLUDE FARMING?

I attended a joint meeting of the Madera County Board of Supervisors and the Fresno County Board of Supervisors in late January in downtown Madera.  I found it interesting that Madera County was joining together with its southerly neighbor to discuss three important areas of interest; urban development, transportation, and groundwater regulation.  But what I found even more thought provoking was the one subject that was mostly left off the table—agriculture.

Let me be fair; there were several comments made by Madera County Board of Supervisors’ Chairman David Rogers that acknowledged the importance of farming to our area, California, and even the United States.  From the Fresno side, water experts from local irrigation and conservation districts made good use of their allotted time speaking up for the efforts made by agriculture to protect and promote our most precious natural resource—water.  I’m sure that some people in attendance at the meeting, especially those with agricultural interests, much appreciated these remarks (myself included).

But there were also comments made by Madera County staff that dismissed the concerns of farmers and the Madera County Farm Bureau regarding the very subjects at hand; urban development, transportation, and groundwater regulation.  To devalue our apprehensions about the impacts to agriculture by these three key issues only deepens our mistrust of which direction our County leaders are taking us.

Wouldn’t it have been nice if the two Boards of Supervisors came together to discuss the strategic importance of farming and advanced solutions to the problems facing the economic engine of both counties?  Perhaps a partnership could have been created to fight state and federal agencies for adequate water supplies for the local production of food.  Maybe our governmental leaders could stand up and say “Thank you!” to agriculture for all the jobs, taxes, and leadership our farming industry has provided to both sides of the San Joaquin River for not just decades but for the entire histories of both Madera County and Fresno County alike.  I would have appreciated this concept of a meeting a lot more than our elected representatives lapping up the bowl of cream that developers poured in front of them while describing a pedestrian bridge between two planned areas of urban growth.

The Madera County Farm Bureau’s mission is to protect and serve agriculture in our area.  MCFB is needed now more than ever to insure our place at the planning table as we look toward the future of our farms and our way of life.  Make sure your membership is up to date and promote joining the Madera County Farm Bureau to your family, friends, and associates.

 

See Ya,

Al Sheeter