Information Needed on A New Plant Called Alkaliweed
By James Schaeffer, Kurt Hembree, and Anil Shrestha, Graduate Student CSU, Fresno, UCCE, Fresno County, and Professor, CSU, Fresno
Pistachio growers and consultants in the southern San Joaquin Valley have recently reported an invasion of a new plant (alkaliweed) along irrigation ditches, roadsides, and into their orchards. Alkaliweed is a California native perennial plant that seems to be rapidly spreading throughout the region.
In some cases, this weed has completely taken over pistachio orchards in a matter of a couple of years after first being spotted. Thus far, repeated applications of postemergence herbicides have only yielded minimal control effects.
Unfortunately, little information is known to date about specific biological and ecological characteristics of this weedy plant, so we are asking for your assistance to help us identify where specifically it has become a problem for you. With this information, we will better be able to understand its growth characteristics and hopefully develop control measures to mitigate the problem.
Studies are currently under way to look at some of these growth characteristics (such as response to salinity, light, and moisture). Your input of where it has become a problem for you and your growers is critical for us to be successful.
Fresno County’s Ag Value Increases Significantly in 2017 Crop and Livestock Report
The Fresno County Department of Agriculture’s 2017 Crop and Livestock Report (Crop Report) was presented to the Fresno County Board of Supervisors Tuesday. Overall, the 2017 agricultural production value in Fresno County totaled $7.028 billion, showing a 13.58 percent increase from 2016’s $6.18 billion.
“Once again, Fresno County farmers and ranchers have produced an agricultural bounty for the world,” stated Fresno County Agricultural Commissioner Les Wright. “While much of this food and fiber goes towards feeding and supplying our nation, the Fresno County Department of Agriculture also issued 18,604 phytosanitary certificates for 133 commodities destined for 97 countries around the globe in 2017.”
“This Crop Report is comprised of nearly 400 commodities, of which 73 crops exceed $1 million in value,” Commissioner Wright continued. “Crop values may vary year-to-year based on production, markets and weather conditions, but our farmers and ranchers, their employees and all those who support their efforts work tirelessly year-around to bring in the harvest.”
With the great diversity of crops in Fresno County and the many variables in agriculture, it’s a given that some crops will be up in value while others are down. Increases were seen in a majority of the Crop Report segments, including field crops, seed crops, fruit and nut crops, livestock and poultry, livestock and poultry products, apiary products and pollination services, and industrial crops. Decreases were seen in vegetables and nursery. Surface water supplies were significantly better in 2017, although many Westside federal water contractors received much of that good news too late to benefit them with additional annual plantings.
Too often, the Crop Report gets summarized down to just a single overall number, but it yields a significant amount of information, such as the ability to examine changes and trends in crop acreage and yields. Amounts in the report reflect the gross income values only (income before expenses) and not the net return to producers.
“The San Joaquin Valley is the food capital of the World, and Fresno County is the region’s heart,” said Fresno County Farm Bureau (FCFB) CEO Ryan Jacobsen. “Daily, millions of food servings unceremoniously originate within our backyard, the result of generations of families and agricultural infrastructure that has been built to furnish an unbelievably productive, wholesome and affordable food supply.”
“The annual Crop Reports are more than numbers,” Jacobsen continued. “They provide the industry, the public and policymakers, regardless of the overall number, the opportunity to salute local agriculture and give thanks for the food and fiber, jobs and economic benefits, agriculture provides Fresno County.”
One popular component of the report is the review of the county’s “Top 10 Crops” that offers a quick glimpse of the diversity of products grown here. In 2017, these crops accounted for three-fourths of the report’s value. Almonds continue to lead the way as Fresno County’s only billion-dollar crop in 2017, representing 17.4 percent of the total gross value of the Crop Report. Added to this year’s list was mandarins at number six. Dropping out of the “Top 10 Crops” was garlic.
This year’s Crop Report was a salute to the Fresno-Kings Cattlemen’s Association. The organization is one of 38 affiliates of the California Cattlemen’s Association, a non-profit trade association that represents ranchers and beef producers in legislative and regulatory affairs.
Big Fresno Fair Names Winners of SJV Olive Oil Competition
After extensive judging of quality olive oils, The Big Fresno Fair is excited to reveal the winners of the 3rd Annual San Joaquin Valley Olive Oil Competition (SJVOOC).
This competition, open to all olive oil producers in the State of California with products made from their most recent olive harvest, received a total of 69 entries from 18 different olive oil producers from throughout the State.
Entries were received in two classes, Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Flavored Olive Oil, with 9 subcategories in total. Gold and Silver Medals were awarded, as well as an overall “Best of Show” selected from all of the highest scoring gold medal entries received in the EVOO and Flavored Oil categories.
All of the flavored oils used for the Best of Show, were all co-milled. In total there were 47 EVOO and 22 Flavored Olive Oil entriesthat were entered for judging. The winners of the 3rd annual San Joaquin Valley Olive Oil Competition are:
Calivirgin – Coldani Olive Ranch’s Calivirgin Hot Virgin Jalapeno (Lodi)
Extra Virgin Olive Oils
Gold Medal Winners
Spanish Blends: Corto Olive Co.’s Corto Olive Company Olive Oil (Lodi), La Panza Ranch’s Outlaw Blend (Santa Margarita) and Kimberley Wine Vinegars’ KimberleyCalifornia Olive Oil (Acampo)
Spanish Singles: The Mill at Kings River’s The Mill (Sanger), ENZO Olive Oil Company’s Delicate Ranch 20 (Clovis), The Olive Press’ Empeltre EVOO (Sonoma),The Olive Press’ Sevillano EVOO (Sonoma) and Organic Roots Olive Oil’s Arbosana (Maxwell)
Italian Blends: Alta Cresta Olive Oil’s Italian Blend (Paso Robles), The Olive Press’ Italian Blend (Sonoma), Scarlata Farms Olive Oil’s Tuscan Blend Reserve (Tracy), San Miguel Olive Farm’s Tuscan Gold Nectar (San Miguel) and San Miguel Olive Farm’s Tuscan Gold/Pristine (San Miguel)
Italian Singles: Bozzano Olive Ranch’s Bozzano Organic (Stockton) and Calivirgin – Coldani Olive Ranch’s Lodi Olive Oil Early Harvest Ascolano (Lodi)
Other Blends: Mangini Ranch Olive Oil Company’s Mangini Ranch (Wallace)
Other Singles: Organic Roots Olive Oil’s Koroneiki (Maxwell)
“The SJVOOC continues to grow each year, and we are very excited to have received a record number of entries this year,” said Stacy Rianda, Deputy Manager II at The Big Fresno Fair. “California has such a vast and rich food-producing community that it is important to hold competitions, like this, that showcase some of the great products our regions offer the world.”
Participating producers had the opportunity to submit multiple entries under one category but could not submit a particular entry to more than one category. For each entry, producers had to submit two, 250 ml bottles of their olive oil with retail labels and a $60 non-refundable fee, per entry.
Additionally, each entry had to be available for commercial sale at the time of submittal. Submissions were accepted starting mid-January through March 24.
All submissions were evaluated and scored on the following criteria:
Gold Medal: Awarded to an olive oil that demonstrated its type and/or varietal character, balance, structure and complexities to the highest standards. Gold Medals were awarded to those oils receiving scores between 86 – 100 points.
Silver Medal: Awarded to an olive oil reflecting the correct distribution of balance and character of its type or variety; an oil deemed to be well crafted and of excellent quality. Silver Medals were awarded to those oils receiving scores between 76 – 85 points.
Best of Show: Awarded to an olive oil recognized to possess special characteristics of the highest quality overall.
Gold Medal and Best of Show winners will have the opportunity to have a booth in the Wells Fargo Agriculture Building on one day during a weekend of the 2017 Big Fresno Fair where they can taste, display and sell their award-winning product. Additionally, educational information will be set up so that fairgoers can learn more about the art of making olive oil, its health benefits, recipes and more.
Celebrating California Agriculture – A Refreshing Perspective
By Laurie Greene, Editor
Peterangelo Vallis is the executive director of the San Joaquin Valley Winegrowers Association based in Kingsburg, CA. Today, he discusses the great care farmers put into their land.
“Hey, we don’t make any more land. God gave us a green earth. That is what we’ve got, and we live in the best possible place to grow virtually anything,” said Vallis.
“In most cases, anything that has been farmed here in California has been farmed for a hundred years. The soil is better now than it was naturally because we are taking better care of it. We’re putting more natural green material back into the ground,” Vallis explained.
“We are stewards of the land, and we have to be cognizant of that. We have to publicize that fact because farmers are the best people at caring for the land,” he said.
“I think oftentimes we are so busy caring for the land, we don’t do as good of a job pumping our chest up to everyone, going, ‘Hey! You know what? You come try to do this. You try to do it half as good as me, ‘because I’ve learned things from school. I’ve learned things from my family. I’ve learned things from generations. I’ve learned things just because I’m here doing my job and watching out,” Vallis said.
Vallis believes we need to widen the conversation and tell more people that farmers do the things they need to do; they do the things that benefit all society.
“We are proud of what we are doing. You know what? People who eat are the direct beneficiaries. Everyone who opens a can of beans. Everyone who goes and gets some lettuce out of the fridge. Everyone who eats beef, chicken or any other meat benefits from our taking care of the land to continue to produce,” he said.
“No farmer I know and no farmer I have ever met actively goes out and poisons our land, because then they can’t make food. Making food is what we are called to do.”
Westlands Water District Statement on the Introduction of the California Emergency Drought Relief Act of 2015
FRESNO, CA – Westlands Water District is encouraged TODAY by the introduction by Senator Dianne Feinstein of the California Emergency Drought Relief Act of 2015. The State is facing unprecedented drought conditions, and the water supply shortages caused by four years of extraordinary dry conditions have been exacerbated by the restrictions imposed on the operations of the federal Central Valley Project and the California State Water Project under federal law.
The introduction of the California Emergency Drought Relief Act of 2015 is an important step in the enactment of legislation to provide much-needed relief for the public water agencies that receive water from these projects and for the people, farms, and businesses they serve. There are great similarities between this bill and H.R. 2898, the Western Water and American Food Security Act of 2015, which passed in the House of Representatives on July 16, 2015. However, there are also great differences.
Westlands looks forward to quick passage of the California Emergency Drought Relief Act of 2015 by the Senate and to subsequent discussions in conference to reconcile the two bills. Through its work with Senator Feinstein and Members of the House of Representatives, Westlands knows that these policymakers are genuinely interested in working together with the District and other interested entities (a) to find a meaningful legislative solution to the chronic water supply shortages that have devastated the San Joaquin Valley and other regions of the State and (b) to provide effective means of protecting at-risk species. The District looks forward to working with them to find common-sense solutions that serve the interests of all Californians.
Mike Wade Urges Water Board To Let Reclamation Pay Back Borrowed Water
By Laurie Greene, California Ag Today Editor
Mike Wade, executive director of the California Farm Water Coalition, discussed with California Ag Today, his article for the Coalition’s Blog, entitled, “State Water Resources Control Board Could Cost California’s Agricultural Economy $4.5 Billion.”
“A number of San Joaquin Valley farmers have been working the last couple of years to set aside emergency water supplies through conservation and water purchases on the open market,” began Wade. “That water is set aside in the San Luis Reservoir and currently being borrowed, if you will, by the Bureau of Reclamation to help meet their obligations and ultimately the temperature management plan for winter run Chinook salmon.”
Wade said the Bureau’s water obligations also include provisions for summer agriculture south of the Delta, as well as refuge management for numerous listed terrestrial species like the Giant Garter Snake.
Wade estimates the loaned water is worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Lending farmers include those who own land on the Westside of the San Joaquin Valley, Sacramento Valley rice farmers who fallowed land this year to make supplies available for transfers and Friant-area farmers seeking to augment a zero water allocation for the second year in a row.
“We believe the Bureau has an obligation to pay that water back this fall, and we’re urging the State Water Resources Control Board to let that payback happen.” In his article, Wade reported that Reclamation would pay back the water from supplies stored in Lake Shasta as soon as temperature goals for winter run Chinook salmon were met.
Regarding accountability, Wade said, “I believe the Bureau intends to pay it back, but we want the public to understand what’s happening. We want transparency so we can follow this obligation and make sure this fall, when water becomes available, the Bureau follows through to pay it back. People don’t forget.”
Built and operated jointly by the Bureau of Reclamation and the State of California, the San Luis Reservoir is at 44% capacity today, according to the California Department of Water Resources’ California Data Exchange Center, but the supply is already divided and allocated. Wade explained, “The water that is currently in San Luis Reservoir under the Bureau of Reclamation’s control is almost exclusively owned by growers who have conserved it or purchased it on the open market. The remainder belongs to the State Water Project and its users. So, there is little or no federally-owned water in San Luis at this time.”
Wade said, “There are a number of factors that contribute to the 4.5 – 4.9 billion dollar projected cost for San Joaquin Valley farmers. First is the actual value of the water that farmers have already set aside. Second is the monetary obligations farmers have contracted to pay Sacramento Valley rice growers for transferred water. The third component is the actual value of potential crop and orchard losses if that water isn’t paid back and farmers lose out on their ability to keep their farms going.”
Wade urged the State Water Resources Control Board, “to facilitate this complex and unprecedented collaboration” and allow Reclamation to release compensatory water as soon as possible.
Let the water flow!
Sources: Interview with Mike Wade, California Farm Water Coalition; “State Water Resources Control Board Could Cost California’s Agricultural Economy $4.5 Billion,” by Mike Wade, California Farm Water Coalition;Bureau of Reclamation; California Department of Water Resources
Featured Image: San Luis Reservoir-Empty, California Farm Water Coalition
Valadao, California Republicans, Introduce Legislation to Improve Western Water Reliability
Today, Congressmen David G. Valadao (CA-21) introduced a bill to modernize water policies in California and throughout the entire Western United States with the support of the entire California Republican delegation, the Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, and Chairman of the Western Caucus.
H.R. 2898, the Western Water and American Food Security Act of 2015 aims to make more water available to families, farmers, and communities in California and bordering Western states. The dedication of vast quantities of water to protect certain species of fish listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is a significant obstacle hindering water delivery in Central and Southern California. H.R. 2898, will require federal agencies to use current and reliable data when making regulatory decisions, which in turn will provide more water for communities in need.
Additionally, Rep. Valadao’s legislation will provide federal regulators with direction and flexibility to capture water during periods of greater precipitation, which can be used to increase California’s water supplies dramatically. Furthermore, the bill will cut red tape holding back major water storage projects that have been authorized for over a decade, which will aid the entire Western United States during dry years.
Congressman David Valadao (CA-21), the author of the legislation, said, “California’s drought has devastated communities throughout the Central Valley and now the consequences are extending throughout the country. Inaction will result in the collapse of our domestic food supply.” He continued, “Congress cannot make it rain but we can enact policies that expand our water infrastructure, allow for more water conveyance, and utilize legitimate science to ensure a reliable water supply for farmers and families.”
Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) stated, “The tragedy of the current drought is no longer isolated to California’s Central Valley, and its response must include tangible solutions that provide us the opportunity to pursue the California Dream. Today is an important step to helping restore the water our communities desperately need by more fully utilizing the most sophisticated water system in the world to quench the robust economic opportunity California families, farmers, workers, and businesses all need.”
“My western colleagues have worked hard to collaborate on a common sense bill that helps people,” stated Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT), Chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources. “Communities are suffering and we are putting forward a creative solution to address those needs. I look forward to working on a bipartisan basis in the House and Senate to move this legislation forward.”
“Having personally visited California’s Central Valley on this matter, I can attest to the dire situation facing California with the drought,” said Western Caucus Chairman and Natural Resources Vice-Chairman Cynthia Lummis (WY-at large). “This situation demands congressional action to tackle the man-made barriers that are needlessly choking off water supplies crucial not just for California jobs but for the food on American tables. I am pleased to work with my Californian colleagues to ensure we also seize this opportunity to address water issues west wide through water project permit streamlining, enhanced water storage, and protecting state-endowed water rights that are increasingly under attack at the federal level.”
“The water bill we are introducing today will help California families and businesses that are suffering in our ongoing drought,” said Rep. Ken Calvert (CA-42). “No legislation will magically end our drought, but by passing this bill, we can take a step in the right direction and work in a collaborative way to enact meaningful solutions. Our bill takes important steps that are the direct result of bipartisan and bicameral conversations, and I look forward to the continued engagement with my House colleagues as well as action from the Senate in the near future. Despite what opponents might say, our legislation does not gut – let alone modify – the Endangered Species Act. Rather, our bill ensures our critical water infrastructure is operated using sound science in order to prevent wasting precious water in ways that do not benefit listed species but come at a high cost to Californians.”
“California’s devastating drought is hurting our ag economy and food supply nationwide,” said Congressman Jeff Denham (CA-10). “This bill provides both the short- and long-term solutions that the Central Valley needs, beginning with more storage. It includes two pieces of legislation I’ve introduced to study and eliminate the threat of predator fish and to increase storage in New Melones Reservoir. We can’t keep waiting on the Senate or the President to get engaged and provide Californians with the solutions they need to survive.”
“This bill was designed to address the underlying causes of the drought in a pragmatic and bipartisan manner,” said Congressman Steve Knight (CA-25). “There is no simple answer to this problem. But California needs rational solutions, not more water rations.”
“This balanced legislation improves water access for Californians around the state by using improved science to time water deliveries, preserving water rights and moving forward on new surface storage facilities,” said Congressman Doug LaMalfa (CA-01). It protects the most fundamental water rights of all, area of origin rights, ensuring that Northern Californians who live where our state’s water originates have access to it. Californians have spoken clearly in support of investment in new surface storage projects, and this measure fulfills the promise to voters by advancing projects that would generate over one million acre-feet of water, enough for eight million Californians. We’ll continue to refine this proposal as it moves through the process, but I am proud to cosponsor a bill that addresses both short- and long-term needs of all Californians and supports continued economic growth.”
“Droughts are nature’s fault; water shortages are our fault,” said Congressman Tom McClintock (CA-04). “For a generation, we have failed to build the facilities needed to store water from wet years to have it in dry ones and radical environmental laws have squandered the water we did store. Our water shortage is caused by a shortage of sensible water policy. This bill begins fixing that.”
Congressman Devin Nunes (CA-22) explained, “Facing an annual water deficit of 2.5 million acre-feet south of the Delta, the San Joaquin Valley urgently needs whatever relief it can get. And once again, the House of Representatives is taking action to assist our long-suffering communities. As this entirely preventable water crisis continues to ravage Valley farms and devastate our economy, I urge the Senate to finally begin supporting the House’s consistent efforts to roll back the disastrous government regulations that prioritize fish over families.”
Original cosponsors of Congressman Valadao’s legislation include Reps. Ken Calvert (CA-42), Paul Cook (CA-08), Jim Costa (CA-16), Jeff Denham (CA-10), Duncan Hunter (CA-50), Darrell E. Issa (CA-49), Stephen Knight (CA-25), Dough LaMalfa (CA-01), Kevin McCarthy (CA-23), Tom McClintock (CA-04), Devin Nunes (CA-22), Dana Rohrabacher (CA-48), Edward R. Royce (CA-39), Mimi Walters (CA-45), Mark E. Amodei (NV-02), Rodney Davis (IL-13), Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25), Cresent Hardy (NV-04), David P. Joyce (OH-14), Cynthia M. Lummis (WY-AL), Dan Newhouse (WA-04), Michael K. Simpson (ID-02), Chris Stewart (UT-02), Scott Tipton (CO-03), and Ryan K. Zinke (MT-AL).
Congratulations to the Westlands Water District Westside Scholarship Recipients!
Six outstanding high school seniors from communities on the Westside of the San Joaquin Valley have been selected to receive scholarships offered by the Westlands Water District. The 2015 scholarships are offered by Westlands under a program to recognize and reward exceptional academic achievement and leadership by graduate seniors at area high schools.
The recipients of the 2015 scholarships are:
Aneet Hundal, a senior at Coalinga High School. Ms. Hundal is an honors student who plans on attending the University of California, Irvine to pursue a degree in nursing. She was actively involved in the Academic Decathlon, Mock Trial, Link Crew, California Scholarship Federation and tennis and basketball. Additionally, she has received a number of awards including the Superintendent’s Honor Roll, Lab Biology II Star of the Month and Wendy’s High School Heisman.
Phillip Augusto, a senior at Lemoore High School. Mr. Augusto plans to attend Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo to pursue a degree in BioResource and Agricultural Engineering. He is an honors student who has received awards from the Future Farmers of America – Scholar Awards, State Degree, Chapter Degree and Greenhand Degree. Additionally, he has been a Robotics Team finalist at West Hills Collect Vex Robotics Competition and Student of the Month for the Lemoore High School Math Department.
Emily Parra, a senior at Tranquillity High School. Ms. Parra plans to attend Stanford University to pursue a degree in Economics/Education. She is an honors student who has been the president of the California Scholarship Federation, Associated Student Body Secretary and World Travel Club Vice President, Mathematician of the Year and Student of the Month.
Jackelyn Sanchez, a senior at Riverdale High School. Ms. Sanchez plans to attend University of California, San Diego to pursue a degree in Aerospace Engineering. She is an honors student who has competed in Academic Decathlon, is an AVID 8th Grade Tutor, Student of the Month, Science Olympiad Competitor, and won an End of the Year Award for maintaining a GPA above 4.0 throughout her high school career.
Gaston Ruben Aganza, a senior at Mendota High School. Mr. Aganza plans to attend Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo to pursue a degree in Engineering. He has held leadership positions in chess and Upward Bound and has participated in AVID, Young Legislators Program, Lend-A-Hand and MESA. Additionally, he was a cross-country runner.
Teddi Diedrich, a senior at Firebaugh High School. Ms. Diedrich plans to attend Menlo College to pursue a degree in agricultural business. She has received several awards in AVID (Student of the Year), Future Farmers of America Greenhand Degree, Honor Roll, Athlete Scholar, the Superintendent’s List and State Future Farmers of America and has also played softball and volleyball.
Each scholarship recipient will receive $1,000 to be used for community college or university expenses. Applicants were judged on their academic performance, school activities and community leadership. Each applicant submitted an essay on an agricultural-related topic.
“Westlands is honored to provide this assistance for these outstanding student leaders,” said Tom Birmingham, general manager of Westlands. “These scholarships represent a small gesture of thanks and support to the communities on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley that make our region such a productive and vibrant place.”
It was a vision by Steve Malanca a tractor, salesman, and Erik Wilson, pest control operator and honeydew melon farmer, both working in around Dos Palos in Merced County.
“The fact that California agriculture is only 2 percent of the gross domestic product of the state was offensive to agriculture,” said Wilson. “because we all know it goes way beyond the gross receipts.”
Back in 2013 Malanca, an equipment salesman with Duetz Allis in Kerman, Calif., came up with a decal with the message: My Job Depends on Ag. He made a few for his friends who slapped them on their trucks.
“The phrase was inspired by a video done by Mike Wade, California Farm Water Coalition, in which he asked several people how they depended on ag for their job,” Malanca said.
Malanca was born and raised in Firebaugh, where his grandfather settled after emigrating from Italy. “My grandfather worked for Miller and Lux ranch, which was one of the largest ranches in the United States in the late 1800s,” he said.
“My father was born and raised on the West Side and was a cotton gin manager for Producers Cotton Oil Company. I have an older brother who is in the cantaloupe business longer than I have been in the farm equipment business. He is part owner of Westside Produce, and my younger brother is a shipping clerk there.
For the last 40 years, starting in Firebaugh, Malanca has been selling farm equipment. “That community has been tremendous to our family. Being involved in the equipment business, and talking to our customers about the trials and tribulations about water was an inspiration to put the ‘I Depend on Ag’ video together.
“There was a local Firebaugh farmer who made a brown ‘V’ decal that was a spinoff of the green ‘V’ of former Fresno State Bulldog coach Pat Hill, signifying the green valley. The brown V of course signified no water,” said Melena. “I expanded the idea and generated the ‘I Depend on Ag Decal’ about a month ago.
“Then Erik immediately suggested that we put it on Facebook, and the two ideas were married–and here we are,” said Malanca. As of the afternoon of June 6, the number of connections were close to 21,000 members!
“We did not want to have a Facebook with statistics on the importance of agriculture in California,” said Wilson. “I have a friend named Brian Ervin who is on Facebook, and he posted an item unrelated to the ‘I Depend on Ag’ concept. He wanted to know about other people’s California…Was it raining?…Was there hail on the ground? There was also an image of a guy loading a hay truck.”
“Instead of pushing out information, I got the idea of just letting everyone tell their own story,” Wilson said. “If people have a job that depends on ag, then we should let them tell their own story. Let people get involved. They own the page, and the stories have been wonderful. In fact, Steve and I have gotten choked up on some. People are saying are some things you’ve never heard of, and it’s really kind of historical,” he said.
“There are a lot of old methods of farming that have been forgotten that are now being introduced on the page,” said Wilson.
“Also, I have encouraged any group or person who disagrees with our philosophy and farming methods to open up the conversation, and not yell or get profane. This is what everyone America has been crying for from our politicians. So, we are going around them. This is how civilized adults get things done.”
“There have been comments from the organic crowd regarding images of sprayers working in fields. Now if they want organic food to eat, we will be happy to give it to them at a higher cost; organic production costs us more in time, money and trips across the field because the materials that we are permitted to use are not as affective,” said Wilson.
“We had a conversation with Western Growers on June 4 in which they asked if we were having to delete a lot of entries from people bashing the web page,” said Malanca. “And Erik, who moderates the page, said only three posts had to be deleted.”
“I may have deleted something prematurely because I thought a comment might go south too fast, but I just do not want the nastiness or personal attacks to take over, because it often happens if you do not moderate–even if it’s a friend–if they throw F-bombs, their entries will be deleted.”
“We are hearing from so many people who understand that ag is part of their job. We had a guy who works in the tortilla chip factory in Los Angeles who depends on ag for his job because all the corn that goes into the chips is grown in the San Joaquin Valley,” said Wilson.
“Flower shops are connecting in because flowers are agriculture. A lavender grower also posted a comment.”
Trucking companies are chiming as well. “If we can’t grow and sell it, then these boys can’t haul it,” noted Wilson. “And if we can get the trucking industry behind us since they do haul a lot of ag products, suddenly we are uniting an even larger segment of people who depend on agriculture,” said Malanca.
“I’d like to see these truckers and the guys on the docks get as passionate as we are, and maybe decide not to haul freight to areas that are complaining about farmers. They need to say, ‘if you want what we have, then turn the water on for the farmers.'”
“This is giving farmers a voice,” said Malanca. “And it’s something that has been missing.”
“Our wives have said that we are preaching to the choir, and I say that we need to rally and embolden every single person in the industry. I want to champion them as their story has not been told in the media–other than the agricultural media,” said Wilson.
“Many fragments have beentrying to get something done, but now we are seeing farmers really coming together on ‘I Depend on Ag.’ This is what we have been trying to do since the beginning of time,” said Malanca.
While the scope of the facebook page focuses on California, plans are germinating to roll out a national campaign. “After all, there are millions across the country who depend on agriculture,” said Wilson.
Joel Nelsen, President of the California Citrus Mutual,
Shares Viewpoints on the Zero Water Allocation
The definition of balance at the State and Federal level is once again highlighted by an announcement from the Bureau of Reclamation that producers south of the Delta will again receive zero allocation for surface water and everything and everybody else gets something. “Two years in a row zero allocation is the message while other parties receive an allocation for farming, the environment or municipal needs and that is the definition of balance by federal decision makers which questions how they define balance,” states CCM President Joel Nelsen
Two weeks ago State Water Resources Control BoardExecutive Director took it upon himself to override environmentally friendly fish agencies and not allow additional pumping designed to assist citizens south of the Delta. “His statement that real data is not fool proof and he would exercise his judgment runs parallel to the federal policy which is unacceptable but consistent, that producing food is not a priority!
Since 1992 over seven million acre feet of water has been transferred away from landowners in the Southern San Joaquin Valley with no accountability as to the environmental successes achieved. Since 1992 those sourcing water from the Friant system have been paying additional dollars per acre foot for environmental enhancements with no accountability. The state of California has over 320 species listed as endangered and yet all the efforts have not led to one species being removed from the ESA list. “Just give more is the answer and state and federal officials remove prime agricultural land from production to accomplish what?”
Preserving the Delta from salt water intrusion is a priority according to the CCM President but “preserving smelt so that they can be consumed by predator fish or toxins dumped thereby requiring more water is unacceptable. Establishing cold water habitats with warm water is ludicrous.”
“We have to be the only state in the nation and the only nation on earth establishing policies that destroys the production of food. That’s a legacy these two administrations must explain,” he concluded.