rancher feeding cattle
farmer in the pasture feeding young bulls. Photo: lenakorzh / shutterstock.com


By John Moore
President, Kern County Farm Bureau

As we stumble through a challenging year with an ever-distressing news cycle, it is important to occasionally take time to pause, reflect, and be thankful for our friends, family and opportunity to wake up in the morning. Additionally, we can be thankful that the agricultural industry is a multi-generational beacon of stability. Driving to the ranch every day and having the ability to work with other great agriculturalists who dedicate their lives to providing a stable food supply is a gift. Unfortunately, majority sentiment towards agriculture in the California State Capitol remains the same as pre-COVID-19 and reinforces a policy of caution regarding the activity of our public institutions. Farmers and ranchers must be diligent in their attention to governmental activity both legislatively and through its regulatory bodies. Wheels are still turning in the capitol notwithstanding the disruption of day-to-day operations. 

The massive budget deficit for the State of California points to challenging days ahead for businesses large and small. The state’s recent pleas to the federal government, its one true heel, will likely go unanswered. The improbable gift of undeserved bailouts spells the likelihood of increased taxation (aka “fees”) on already tax burdened California businesses, aggressive regulatory bodies in search of excuses to issue petty violations, and potential litigation lurking around every corner. Despite Kern County agriculturalist’s unwavering efforts to provide a stable food supply, state regulatory bodies have been known to contradict themselves, and occasionally negotiate in bad faith. Wariness and respectful questioning are key to self-preservation.

Farmers and ranchers are obligated to strengthen systems on their various operations in order to protect themselves. An efficient agronomic system is necessary for the long-term economic viability of the farming operation, and within the coming months designated on-farm safety systems will prevent massive amounts of heartache. Checking and rechecking our food, applicator, and employee safety systems will allow the industry to support the fatigued U.S. and world population. This means revisiting employee manuals, Injury Illness Prevention Plans, etc. (if not done recently). Agriculturalist’s diligence should not just end with a system check. The constant pursuit of accountability should not rest simply with ourselves, but with those in positions of power. 

Farmers and ranchers would be wise to continue reminding legislators, regulators, and public on current good practices, and pushing back on any potential governmental overreach. Stay involved and support local advocacy groups. Agriculture has real sustainable value. Don’t let them forget it.

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