Laurie Greene Wins Journalism Award

Greene Wins Fresno County Farm Bureau Award for Series on Farm Workers’ Rights

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor

The Fresno County Farm Bureau (FCFB) recognized Laurie Greene, founding editor of CaliforniaAgToday.com,  with a First Place Journalism Award in the Farm Trade Print category on May 3. Her nine-part series published on our Google News-recognized CaliforniaAgToday.com website entitled, “Who Safeguards California Farm Workers’ Rights?” focused on recent, predominantly legal developments that illustrate the increasingly complex quagmire that masquerades as protecting farm employees’ rights in the state.

Laurie Greene wins Journalism Award
Ryan Jacobsen, FCFB CEO; Laurie Greene holding tractor award; and Donny Rollin, FCFB President.

According to the FCFB, “The annual awards recognize excellence in reporting on agricultural issues from journalists throughout the region. The criteria for the awards were: awareness of agriculture’s importance in the Valley; use of visuals to tell the story, where applicable; thorough and objective coverage of the issues, given time and space limitations; and portraying the ‘human side’ of the industry, making the issues relevant to consumers and/or producers.”

Laurie’s careful coverage of a complicated story was unrelenting in its meticulous research and thorough in cultivating numerous sources to tell the complete legal story of Gerawan’s farm employees. Laurie has been cited as a journalist with a sharp legal mind and is a strong asset to the company.

“When I moved to the Central Valley,” Greene said, “I was shocked to discover that Cesar Chavez’s legacy was tarnished. His UFW had evolved to mandate that farm employees submit to mediated union representation and payment of dues—all this by a union elected a quarter century earlier that subsequently abandoned the workers for two decades.

Gerawan Employees
Gerawan Farm Workers Protest against UFW at California Supreme Court.

Greene explained, “Current farm employees have had to fight to have their voices heard, to gain access to pertinent court hearings, to work unimpeded for the employer of their choosing, to face employment termination if they refuse to pay union dues, to exercise their right to vote to decertify the union in a sanctioned election and to have their votes publicly counted. I felt compelled to relay the facts in this important story.”

FCFB 2018 Journalism Award Winners Alex Backus, CBS47; Laurie Greene, CaliforniaAgToday.com; and Dominic McAndrew, 580AM KMJ. (Absent was Maria G. Ortiz-Briones, Vida en el Vale)

 

Greene’s work in the series was shared across the California Ag Today’s social media platforms and broadcasted across the California Ag Today Radio Network of 22 radio stations. She is also the owner of Cultivated Words, which provides professional editing services and college application essay coaching.



Other award winners were:

Audio:  Dominic McAndrew, News Talk 580AM, KMJ, “Signing the application for state funding of Temperance Flat Dam,” August 14, 2017.

Video:  Alex Backus, CBS47, “Fear in the Fields,” May 19, 2017.

General Print:  Maria G. Ortiz-Briones, Vida en el Vale, “Farmers, immigration rights advocates push back after ICE checks in the Central Valley,” February 12, 2018.


Who Safeguards California Farm Workers’ Rights?  (abridged)

Greene focused on the ongoing pressure the United Farm Workers (UFW) and the California Agriculture Labor Relations Board (ALRB) has placed on Gerawan farm workers in an attempt to force them to accept mandatory fee-based union representation by the UFW. Gerawan employees voted in favor of UFW representation in 1990, an election the ALRB certified in 1992. UFW never reached a contract to represent Gerawan employees in wage negotiations with their employer and never collected union dues. The UFW effectively abandoned the farm workers for 20 years.

The California Legislature amended the Agricultural Labor Relations Act in 2012 to impose a mandatory mediation and conciliation process for union contracts. The UFW offered Gerawan employees a new contract proposal via this forced legal process.

On Oct. 25, 2013, Gerawan employee Silvia Lopez filed a petition to decertify the UFW as the bargaining representative for the company’s workers. Gerawan voted in an historic, ALRB-sanctioned election on November 4 or 5, 2013; however, the ALRB impounded the ballots, reportedly without having counted them.

Silvia Lopez, Gerawan farm worker spokesperson

The twists and turns of who actually safeguards California farm employees’ rights have been strikingly dramatic, undemocratic, political, and arguably unconstitutional. And yet, the conflict remains legally unresolved.

Click here to read the series.

Click here to search for California Ag Today’s multimedia coverage since 2013 of this ongoing battle.  Search suggestions:  Gerawan Farming, Silvia Lopez, UFW, and ALRB.

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Overwinter Pests and New Pesticide Regulations Near Schools

A Focus on Overwintering Pests and New Spray Regulations Near Schools

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

California Ag Today recently spoke with Ryan Jacobsen, CEO and executive director of the Fresno County Farm Bureau, about pest pressures in Fresno county as well as new pesticide regulations that were put put in place around K-12 schools and licensed daycare centers beginning Jan 1.

“When you talk about pest pressure, the warmer temperatures that we saw last year because of the multiple storms that were rolling through helped help many pests get through the season and start in greater numbers earlier in the year, and that’s what we saw happen. We have had many warm days so far this winter, and it will be interesting to see if pests respond to that in the coming spring,” Jacobsen said.

“There definitely this time of year when it comes to so many of our different other crops that folks are doing all their different cultural practices to make sure that they are doing what they can in vineyards, orchards and open grounds to reduce those pest pressures for the upcoming year and hopefully you get through the season,” Jacobsen explained.

And there are new regulations that farmers will have to follow when spraying within a quarter mile of schools and licensed daycare centers between 6am and 6pm. But Jacobson says that this won’t be a big change for farmers, as Central Valley farmers had been following regulations like this for many years.

“Most of these have been in practice by these growers in south Joaquin Valley for years. Our kids are going to those same schools, and we’re trying to be the best neighbors and stewards of the land next to these schools as possible,” Jacobsen said. “Nevertheless, every time you get to government involved, obviously there’s going to be some difficulties and some paperwork or regulatory red tape that’s going to be added to the process there. And I think that’s what you’re seeing with these current rules here in Fresno County.”

“And I know where our agricultural commissioner’s office has worked hand-in-hand with local growers regarding spraying near schools,” he said. “But in anticipation of these rules, and just even before they were even discussed, the industry did what they could to make sure that these applications that were next to schools were done appropriately successfully and that there was no issue.

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Temperance Flat to help with Above and Below Ground Storage

Water Storage is Needed, Above and Below Ground

By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor

California Ag Today recently spoke with Ryan Jacobsen, CEO and executive director of the Fresno County Farm Bureau, about the importance of below ground and above ground water storage, and how Temperance Flat Dam will help.

“I am first and foremost to say we need both. They go hand in hand. You can’t capture all this water at one time and stick it in the ground. You’ve got to have above ground storage,” Jacobsen said. “The water has to be allowed to percolate back into the ground level.”

“We need both types to go hand in hand, and I think anybody that knows the success of what Temperance Flat Dam is going to bring to this area knows that this is good,” he explained.

Ryan Jacobsen, Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO

Farmers are trying to get their voice heard when it comes to new water policy. Jacobson says the best way is through personal letters. They are getting hundreds upon thousands of emails.

“If you get that handwritten letter or that personal letter coming from somebody through the old school snail mail, it makes a difference when it comes to the commissioners,” he said.

“The more the commissioners can hear about the support and potential successes of this project or in the local community, the more attention it will get. It’s important to our region,” Jacobsen said. “Because agriculture is a large portion of the San Joaquin Valley economy.”

Send your personal letters to the California Water Commission at PO Box 9428 Sacramento, California.

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Like Mother, Like Son: Passion for Grape Growing

Mother-Son Team Share Passion for Grape Growing

 

By Lauren Dutra, Associate Editor

 

Diane Laub and Jared Allred, Fresno County mother and son grape growers, shared their passion for grape growing and some insight on their raisin and winegrape operations. “We have mostly Thompson Seedless,” Allred began, “which has been made into raisins for the last couple of years. Sometimes we send them to the winery if the price is right. We also have about 75 acres of overhead trellis dried-on-the-vine (DOV) Fiesta grapes that we use for raisins every year.”

 

With the harvest season behind them, Allred summarized, “in the first week of August, we went through and cut all the canes on the DOV grapes. The raisins started drying on the vine for a few weeks, and then we sent a mechanical harvester through.”

 

The mother and son team also farm 85 acres of French Colombard. “We used to have 40 acres of Syrah,” Allred added, “but we took [the variety] out this last year because the price hasn’t been good and the vineyard was not in very good shape.”

 

SJV grapevines Aug/Sept

“In years past, we used to send all of our Thompson’s Seedless to the wineries,” Allred explained, “but the price hasn’t been good the past three years, so we’ve been making it into raisins. This year, the only thing we have going to the winery is our French Colombard.”

 

Allred also commented, “The crop this year looks pretty good, actually as good—if not better than—last year. ‘Not a lot of powdery mildew except on the Fiestas, which are always prone to a little bit of mildew.”

 

Diane Laub, Allred’s mother, explained her role on the family’s farm. “I mainly oversee everything on the farm and also do all the office work. That is what I was brought up doing. I still do all my own work: irrigate, parts runner—you name it.”

 

Laub is the daughter of the late Don Laub, a well-known and respected leader in agriculture and in the Easton community where he farmed. For 50 years, Don Laub was active with the Fresno County Farm Bureau and served as president from 1986-1988. In 1996, he received the Distinguished Service Award from the Sacramento-based California Farm Bureau Federation. He also served on boards of many other agriculture organizations, including Ag One Foundation at Fresno State and California Association of Winegrape Growers.

 

Following in her father’s footsteps, Diane Laub explained her passion for the business, “It’s just something that I love to do. I don’t know what I’d do without it. You know, it’s my job; it’s my life,” she said.

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Breaking News: The 5 Percenters May Not Receive All of Their Water Allocation

5 Percenters and Endangered Fish May Both Lose 

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

 

Will the 5 Percenters—the Federal water users in California who were restricted by a 95% water allocation reduction this year—actually receive the promised 5% allocation? This scenario follows a more-than-average winter rainfall and snowfall throughout the state.

Ryan Jacobsenexecutive director and CEO of the Fresno County Farm Bureau, said, “arguably it’s turned out to be much worse. Right now, for the initial 5% allocation to even be questionable right now is just absolutely insane. It all boils down to the amount of water being held up in Lake Shasta for fish purposes, which has put a major stranglehold on what’s happening down here at this point,” noted Jacobsen.

Central Valley Project (CVP) Water
Central Valley Project (CVP) Water

At Shasta Reservoir, a keystone reservoir of the Central Valley Project, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation essentially discharged flood releases earlier this year just to make room for the water that was expected to come in.  Shasta now stands at a above average full for this time of year, because the Feds are holding all the water for release for salmon later.

This is part of the plan to have cold water available to release for the salmon. And Shasta actually has 30 percent more cold water than what they thought, and water leaders are pushing hard to get the Feds to release it for agriculture.

San Luis Reservoir dead pool
San Luis Reservoir at Dead Pool Status

And San Luis Reservoir is  at a dead-pool status, which insures no more water can be sent south from that reservoirDead pool means no more water can be drawn from San Luis Reservoir, which does not bode well.

Jacobsen said, “This means our federal contractors’ 5% is in question. And that’s the irony: we were looking at such a strong year—or at least an average year [of precipitation]—and ending up now where our meager water supply is in jeopardy. This is incomprehensible and inexcusable from the federal side.”

Shasta has both federal and state water, and the federal side is essentially nothing at this point, explained Jacobsen. “Farmers rely upon San Luis Reservoir water for July and August irrigation, “and the water is essentially gone at this point,” he said. “It just shows you the major mismanagement we’re seeing from the federal side and the inability to capture water even when it is available, and not at the demise of any of these species.”

Jacobsen reiterated, “Back when the precipitation was falling [last winter], water was available at some extraordinarily high levels; yet, we never saw the increase in pumping that we would have expected under the normal conditions. “Of course, we’ve seen less pumping this year for the farmers and the cities south of the Delta,” noted Jacobsen. “During the times of the rainfall this year, it was essentially excuse, after excuse, after excuse. Some newer excuses pertained to why the pumps were not operating or operating at a very reduced capacity,” explained Jacobsen.

“The situation has been frustrating for a couple of years, but the anger continues to build because right now, this is not a ‘Mother Nature’ issue. It is completely a man-made regulatory drought that is, again, just incompetency at its best.”

“When we talk about the water stored behind Shasta [Dam] right now, really it is for the fish,” noted Jacobsen. “The most-watched fishery, at this point, is the salmon fishery. We’re in year four of this drought, but when it comes to the critical side of fish, the salmon essentially operates in three-year cycles. The last two years have been arguably two of the worst years on record for them, and this potential third year is a kind of make-it-or-break-it for salmon fisheries in the Delta region.”

Unfortunately, per Jacobsen, many decisions have been based on guesstimates. “There are a lot of folks who think we need to reserve all of this cold water for a fishery that may or may not be responding to what has been done in the past for this [contracted irrigation] water that has been given up for those purposes,” Jacobsen explained. “Right now, I think we’re doing a lot of experiments at the cost of jobs and employment, and most importantly, the farms here in the San Joaquin Valley. The frustration is that science is really not playing a big part in it. A lot of decisions are just simply, ‘We think we should be doing this versus what the science actually says we should be doing.’”

Jacobsen’s leading frustration is that all that water taken from farmers and given to fish has not helped the fish at all. In fact, the smelt and salmon numbers continue to decline. “I talk about growing frustration and anger from so many folks in the last couple of years… specifically because it hasn’t made a difference,” said Jacobsen. “An exorbitant amount of water has been given up for these fisheries, [endangered fish populations] continue to decline and crash, and as we’ve been saying for years, it is beyond time to look at just the water exporters,” he added.

Jacobsen maintains other stressors should be seriously investigated. “Many other issues taken place in the Delta should be pulled into play here, but again the regulators and the environmentalists continue to look only at the exporters as the sole issue for fish decline. There are so many other factors out there that need to be looked at,” he said.


Highly recommenced reading: “We are the 5 percenters, stretching our water supplies to get by,” by Joe Del BosqueContributing writer, The Orange County Register, July 14, 2016.

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Westlands Water Allocation “Despicable”

Westlands Water Allocation “Despicable”

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Deputy Editor

Earlier TODAY, the United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) stunned the farming industry by announcing a  5% water allocation for most of the farmland to the Westlands Water District on the Westside in the Central San Joaquin Valley. This single digit water allocation to the comes during an El Niño year of wet weather, following four years of drought and restricted water deliveries to Westlands of 40% in 2012, 20% (2013), 0% (2014) and 0% again (2015).

Westlands Water District LogoLes Wright, agriculture commissioner for the Fresno County Department of Agriculture—ground zero for agricultural water cutbacks, said, “I can’t think of a word to describe how I am feeling about our federal water managers. It’s despicable what they’re doing to this Valley.”

“You have two major reservoirs in flood stage,” said Wright, “but they are refusing to turn the pumps on. It’s like they want to starve out the Valley, its farmers and communities. Agriculture is the major economic driver for the Valley communities, and they’re doing everything they can to drive the people out of this Valley.”

Established in 1902, the USBR, according to its website, is best known for the building of more than 600 dams and reservoirs, plus power plants and canals, constructed in 17 western states. These water projects led to homesteading and promoted the economic development of the West. 
Sign of drought Westlands Water District Turnout

The USBR website reads, “Today, we are the largest wholesaler of water in the country. We bring water to more than 31 million people, and provide one out of five Western farmers (140,000) with irrigation water for 10 million acres of farmland that produce 60% of the nation’s vegetables and 25% of its fruits and nuts.”

Yet, some Western farmers have received a 0% water allocation for each of the past two years, and now may receive only 5% this year. Already, Westlands Water District reports over 200,000 acres of prime farmland in the district have already been fallowed.

Ryan Jacobsen, Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO
Ryan Jacobsen, Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO

“Reservoirs throughout the state have been filling,” said Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO, Ryan Jacobsen, in a statement TODAY. “However, the government’s restrictive interpretation has resulted in the permanent loss of 789,000 acre-feet of water,” said Jacobsen. “Since December 2015, more than 200 billion gallons of water have been forever lost to the ocean, with almost no water being allocated to agriculture.”

Commissioner Wright reflected, “President Obama and both California senators have been here in the Valley, on the ground. They have seen what we are doing. They recognize the crisis; yet they refuse to use their authorities to correct the situationin a year when we’re dumping millions of gallons of water to the ocean.”

Wright explained the federal government is sending fresh water to the ocean in excess of what is needed for the environment and the protected species. “They are just wasting the water,” he said, “and yet, we have the Governor telling us to cut back 25% to 35%. And all of that water we saved last summer and in the last year, they have more than doubled the waste.”

“Where is the governor on this issue?” Wright asked. “It is despicable what the government is doing to its people.”

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CA Farm Bureau Awards Ag Students

CA Farm Bureau Awards Young Farmers and Ranchers Program Students

Service to community and Farm Bureau earned awards for participants in the California Young Farmers and Ranchers program, and a student from California State University, Fresno, won the state’s annual Collegiate Discussion Meet. The awards were presented at the Feb. 27 annual California Young Farmers and Ranchers Leadership Conference in San Luis Obispo.

For a second straight year, the San Joaquin Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee earned the YF&R Committee of the Year Award, for its activities during 2015. The committee, composed of 45 active members, volunteered at numerous Farm Bureau and agricultural education events; donated food to local food banks and toys to children of military service members; presented three college scholarships; and raised money for the scholarship program and for the California Farm Bureau Federation Fund to Protect the Family Farm.

Napa County Farm Bureau member Johnnie White received the Star YF&R Award, which recognizes a young farmer or rancher for service to agriculture. White, a sixth-generation farmer, works as operations supervisor for a vineyard-management company and as a volunteer firefighter in St. Helena. He has been an active YF&R volunteer since 2006, serves as first vice chair of the State YF&R Committee and is a member of the 2016 Leadership Farm Bureau class.

California Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers and Ranchers 2016 Conference logo
California Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers and Ranchers 2016 Conference

Fresno State junior Hunter Berry (San Jacinto), an agricultural business major, won the Collegiate Discussion Meet, which simulates a committee meeting with active participation and positive group discussion. Berry began his agricultural training in high school classes and FFA activities. At Fresno State, he is pursuing an accounting concentration and hopes to obtain a master’s degree on his banking or financial analysis career path. Next February, Berry will become the sixth Fresno State student to represent California at the American Farm Bureau’s Collegiate Discussion Meet national competition.

Riley Nilsen (Nipomo), an agricultural science student at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, was first runner-up in the competition. The other finalists were Fresno State senior agricultural business student Jacob Vazquez (Cottonwood) and Cal Poly student Haley Warner (Angels Camp). Berry earned a $1,250 prize sponsored by AgroLiquid; Nilsen earned $750 and the other finalists each earned $500.

Fresno State won the collegiate team competition, the fifth team and individual titles for the group under the direction of adviser Dr. Steven Rocca, Fresno State agricultural education professor. Other team titles came in 2014, 2013, 2008 and 2006. Berry said. “Dr. Rocca did a great job of mentoring us before and during the competition, as well as arranging for guest speakers beforehand such as Ryan Jacobsen from the Fresno County Farm Bureau. Having four of our team members make the semifinals was especially rewarding.

In addition to Berry and Vazquez, Fresno State’s team included agricultural education-communication senior Dominique Germann (Ceres), animal science-livestock business management junior Emma Briggs (Santa Rosa) and animal science-pre-veterinary senior Ana Lopez Campos (Tulare).

________________________________________________

American Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers program serves agriculturalists between the ages of 18 and 35 who are actively involved in production and affiliated professions.

The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of more than 53,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of more than 6.2 million Farm Bureau members.

________________________________________________

Sources: 

California Farm Bureau Federation

California State University, Fresno, Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Teçhnology (Geoffrey Thurner).

Photo: Collegiate Team Award Winners (2016); source: California State University, Fresno, Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology

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Valley’s Gold Prepares for Fourth Season

Valley’s Gold Prepares for Fourth Season

 

By Charmayne Hefley, Associate Editor

Valley's Gold

Currently in the midst of season three, Valley’s Gold, a weekly television series focusing on agriculture in the Central Valley, is scheduled to continue for a fourth season.

Ryan Jacobsen, the series’ host and Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO, is surprised but pleased by the show’s success. “I guess, just by the blessings of being able to do what we do and show this incredible industry, it’s resonating with folks,” Jacobsen said. “They love the show and the opportunities this show has given us to be able to show how our food is produced—not the romanticized viewbut the view of truly how it’s done and the people who come together to make this industry drive. It’s just been a phenomenal opportunity to share Ag’s story.”

Jacobsen said California’s diversity has allowed the show, brought to viewers by Fresno County Farm Bureau and ValleyPBS, to continue with consistent, original content. “You would think after that many seasons we would run out of crops,” Jacobsen said, “but because of this phenomenal Valley and this phenomenal state, we’re finding more and more stories. The more we dig, the more we find and the more we’re able to share the wealth of what we produce here.”

Sponsored by GAR Tootelian, BRANDT and Meyers Water Bank, the show airs on Wednesdays at 7pm PST and is re-broadcasted on the weekends, Saturday at 6:30pm and Sunday at 10:30am.

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Renaissance in Agriculture

Ryan Jacobsen on the Renaissance in Agriculture 

By Charmayne Hefley, Associate Editor

In the past, the children of farmers were known to leave the farm to pursue careers that required higher levels of education and not return. Ryan Jacobsen, executive director of the Fresno County Farm Bureau, said those days are behind us. Jacobsen said nowadays, we are experiencing a renaissance in agriculture, as sons and daughters return to the farms and college students study agriculture.

“We’ve been very fortunate,” Jacobsen said. “When you look at the overall agriculture industry over the last decade, it’s been pretty bright.” Despite the recent national and global economic downturn, Jacobsen contends the California agricultural economy remained a shining star. “That shining star created what I consider to be a renaissance in the agriculture industry,” Jacobsen explained, “where we actually saw younger individuals come back to the farm. For so many years we shipped off that talent. We encouraged them not to come back to the farm to be farmers; we encouraged them to go off to other professions.”

“We are truly fortunate to be where we are today,” Jacobsen continued, “because of the renaissance and higher commodities and crop values. We’re seeing sons and daughters able to return to the farms and take their places within their family operations.”

We’re seeing individuals go to college for a career in agriculture,” remarked Jacobsen. “Over at Fresno State, the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology is seeing record enrollment—not just a little bit up, but shattering all previous records.” Fresno State’s Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology lists their current student enrollment as of September 14 at nearly 2,000 undergraduates and 75 graduate students.”

“It’s encouraging that young individuals see an opportunity and a future in agriculture, plus the desire to help our industry,“ Jacobsen said.

 

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2nd in Series: Mental Health on the Farm

Part 2  Mental Health on the Farm:  Destigmatizing Mental Health

October 4th – 10th is National Mental Illness Awareness week, and National Depression Screening Day is tomorrow, October 8, 2015.

Resources are provided at the end of this post.

Karen Markland, Division Manager for the Fresno County Department of Behavioral Healths Planning, Prevention and Supportive Services. spoke with California Ag Today Editor Laurie Greene about mental health and the state’s farmers and farmworkers who have experienced increased stress due to the drought and environmental water restrictions impacting their livelihoods.

Editor: Back in April, your department partnered with the Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission (EOC) and the USDA to receive a grant specifically to host a conference called “The Drought Emergency and Preparedness Conference,” (DEAP). DEAP was a full-day event for farmers to discuss the drought and water, but also included representatives from mental health?

Markland: Here was the Department of Behavioral Health, a mental health partner, at an agricultural event. It was fascinating to see the curious looks that implied, “I kind of want to go up there, but I don’t want to go up there.” And by the end of the day, we had attendees and farmers approaching our table. We created an agricultural theme with plants and live videos of our gardening projects to destigmatize and show that mental health and mental wellness speak all languages. So we were pleased to be there.

Editor: We understand the Fresno County Farm Bureau participated?

Markland:   Yes, the meeting with the EOC and USDA was actually initiated by the Fresno County Farm Bureau, which is is very interested in the wellbeing of its community. Ryan Jacobson, Farm Bureau ceo/executive director, had received some communication indicating our farmers were feeling stress and that some had lost their lives based on the anxiety and depression brought on by these drought conditions. It was time for us to activate and come together to talk about a very uncomfortable subject.

Our Farm Bureau and the USDA partnered to talk to workers and farmers who aren’t just happy; rather, they are depressed and anxious, and we are worried about them. The collaboration among the Farm Bureau, USDA and mental health was wonderful.  It was an amazing dialogue to jointly say, “This is such a stigmatizing topic for a group of individuals who are typically adult male farmers who don’t want to share or hear these words. Yet, we’ve lost lives, so it is time to make a difference.”

The Fresno Department of Behavioral Health is dedicated to supporting the wellness of individuals, families, and communities in Fresno County who are affected by, or at risk of, mental illness and/or substance use disorders through cultivation of strengths toward promoting recovery in the least restrictive environment.County of Fresno Logo

The Fresno Department of Behavioral Health provides mental health and substance abuse services to adults within the County of Fresno. The programs within our department focus on delivering the highest quality of service. There are over 300 professionals and staff dedicated to providing services in both metropolitan and rural areas. The diversity of our staff has helped us create a department that is sensitive to cultural differences and attempts to bridge the language barriers with our consumers. 

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