By Valley Ag Voice Staff
On Wednesday February 19th, President Donald Trump came to the Valley to sign an order to finalize the federal biological opinions on water. Thousands were in attendance to witness the signing and the President was flanked by many leaders in local agriculture including John Moore President of the Kern County Farm Bureau.
Obviously, water is one of the most crucial assets for the Valley. With many farmers struggling to acquire the water they need to grow crops in the wake of SGMA, today’s announcement could offer critical relief.
Trump was introduced by Congressman Kevin McCarthy who reminded the group we are all one America and this president is fighting for us.
Trump kicked off the rally acknowledging the two Porterville firefighters who recently lost their lives in the line of duty and thanked all the first responders for their dedication and sacrifice. He then recognized our farmers and spoke on the absolute need for water saying: “Your state is doing nothing to help you.”
He recognized Devin Nunes as a real warrior, “Devin educated me on water, and I got to know about the millions and millions of gallons going to the ocean and not to crops.”
President Trump commented, “This will change the whole state if we do this. David Bernhardt, secretary of the Interior, was invited up to speak.
Bernhardt commented: “We were given direction by Trump to change operations to use real time monitoring to better utilize water. The President said ‘let’s get it done.’”
Trump added, “The water does nothing for the Pacific. It’s like a drop! When they don’t give you water, its like they are taking your land. Your state needs the right government. Hopefully the Governor will get his act together and get water flowing. We got this done quickly to solve your water issues. We want to ensure you get the water you’re paying for.”
Jenny Holtermann was invited up to give a few words. As a fourth generation farmer she is worried about the future of the farm for the generation to follow. “We are an industry of families, and in each generation we use less water every year. I want to thank our President for supporting families and the American Farmer.”
Matt Fisher, a local citrus farmer, then followed. He talked about how optimistic he was when Trump was elected. “You came, listened, assigned the right people to work on it, and you got it done! These biological opinion updates will bring relief to my family and will save thousands of acres from dying,” added Fisher.
Trump added, “California has not built major storage since 1979. Our farmers could have had enough water to grow over 800,000 acres. “
Trump then introduced Larry Starrh. He said, “What a great honor to have you in our home. Water is everything, the beginning the middle and the end. Without it we will just have the end. Our farm has had to idle thousands of acres due a lack of water. Come out to the ranch, and I could show you what the end would look like. My father used to say President Trump is our hope.” Addressing the President, he said, “Four years ago in Tulare you made a promise to deliver water. That is a promise made and a promise kept.” In closing Starrh said, “The reason these new rules are being implemented is because of President Donald Trump.”
Trump closed stating: “America is a nation built by farmers. You work hard and you’re smart as hell. We will keep fighting for you, and we are going to win. God bless the American Farmer! God bless America!”