By John C. Moore, III, President, Kern County Farm Bureau
Well, I guess what they say is true… time flies when you’re having fun. The third Thursday of this month, September, marks the end of my tenure as President of the Kern County Farm Bureau. The past two years serving the membership with your Officer Team, Board of Directors, and dedicated Staff has been the highlight of my young career. Despite a global pandemic, devastating drought, and regulatory pressures, the organization has established meaningful relationships, made significant policy impacts and restructured organizationally in ways that I think (and hope) will benefit the Kern agricultural industry for years.
One of the goals of this administration was to assist the community and continue building productive rapport with those at the levers of regulatory power. Throughout the pandemic, KCFB made strides to help the Kern agriculture community stay up to date with rapidly changing rules. Additionally, KCFB assisted with testing and eventually partnered with groups to provide vaccinations to those who wanted them. We also made fostering relationships with those at state agencies such as the Department of Pesticide Regulation, San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, California Department of Food and Agriculture a priority. Policy items include mitigating against activist overreach of farming practices related an anti-local management pesticide notification system, coordinating funding for equipment to help with burn days, tractor replacements, and much more. Just recently we have begun working on exciting new projects with local institutions of higher learning that will benefit our employers, employees and agricultural community at large. I firmly believe that if farmers and ranchers are to survive and thrive in the state of California, then relationships with regulatory heads and their staff is critical. We must continue showing good faith and insisting to have a seat at the table.
Alternatively, when attempts at fostering relationships were ignored, your KCFB Team resisted overreach from government; specifically, and most recently, the Governor appointed State Water Resources Control Board. The last two years went from legislative insanity to siloed authoritarianism empowered by state leadership drunk with executive control and regulatory appointees lost in ideological fallacies. We are truly living in a unique moment. The time to aggressively state the case for Kern county farming and ranching and push back against to those who consistently mismanage our system of water, labor, and power is right now. Our industry and communities must deliberately oppose blatant abuses of power by out-of-control government actors and feckless activists. Your water rights are your private property rights. Your safe and stable farming practices are real, and they are your own business. Your employment and employees are valued. Every member reading this article needs to understand that without your powerful voice, agriculture will be considered an expendable, if not detrimental, industry to the state of California. For example, the SWRCB recently went as far as to declare that food production is a non-beneficial use. Ridiculous. KCFB is fostering relationships so that you can make the best business decisions for your farm, ranch and service businesses. We are fighting for you. And make no mistake, our position will only be heard when and if we lock arms and shout together in one voice. People need an inexpensive, safe and stable food supply, and Kern County farmers and ranchers are the best in the world to provide it to them.
Staying active in the policy realm was not the only concentration of your county Farm Bureau over the past two years. Early in the term, tough decisions were made related to selling the original building while staff changes were endured by the Board. By making certain structural adjustments, the KCFB is in a good position moving forward with new offices on 30th Street and a fantastic new Executive Director. Prior to pandemic, the organization held its most successful Bounty of Kern County and Spray Safe events ever. And despite battling the pandemic, the organization was able to pivot different formats for various events (i.e., Spray Safe went digital in partnership with BC and is now hosted by CAPKA) while hosting fantastically successful golf tournaments thanks to an outstanding Golf Classic Committee. Additionally, the Kern County Farm Bureau Foundation is newly established, and we are thrilled to introduce more details related to the Foundation in the coming months. I can confidently say that with the help of your membership, star studded Board of Directors, and outstanding Staff the future is bright for the Kern County Farm Bureau.
Two years goes by quickly. Probably not quickly enough for my family, but still quickly. Thank you to the Officers, Board of Directors, and Staff who have done an exceptional job fighting the good fight and making adjustments along the way. I am sure I will see you all around soon either on the farm, in the real estate office, or most likely at Woolgrowers. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you and God Bless Kern County Agriculture!