January 2019

Happy New Year!  As the new year begins, I would like to take a moment to remind everyone that with every new year, there tends to be new law or regulation.  Last month we had a workshop focused on new laws in the work place, which included many new aspects that are coming into play because of the #MeToo movement.  The overtime and minimum wage increase continue to phase in with this year setting new overtime requirements.  On the water front, the Regional Water Board should have notified you of domestic well sampling required for wells on irrigated land which provide drinking water, and you will notice on your Farm Evaluations and Nitrogen Management Plans and work sheets that additional information is being requested.  SGMA is in full swing, and in Madera/Chowchilla we should start seeing pieces of the GSP in the next few months.  To avoid being too wordy, I urge you to contact the office for additional information on any of these items (or anything else you may have questions about).

Now, before I go, I’d like to touch on a recent question that was thrown my way at a meeting.  A local young farmer asked who we (farmers) should be talking to in order to help make changes and lighten up the red tape.  Who was “lobbying” for farmers?  The room looked at me, and my response was brutally honest, so I thought I’d share it with you.  I told this room that like me there are numerous others representing advocacy groups, speaking on behalf of the farmer, but unfortunately it doesn’t get us very far.  As actual farmers I told them, they needed to start writing letters and contacting their representatives and governmental staff to share their opinions, they needed to get involved.  I am often criticized for not doing enough, which is very frustrating.  Well unfortunately the powers that be (the government) tend to appoint people to positions that have their own agenda.  That agenda doesn’t usually favor agriculture.  The farm bureau, statewide, does a tremendous job advocating to those in Sacramento and Washington DC, but the more impactful statements come from farmers, ranchers and employees.  As your farm bureau executive director, along with the others in the state, we will continue to do our part in speaking on your behalf because we understand the importance of agriculture, and from time to time, we land a solid punch, but could you imagine how bad things would be if people like me weren’t representing the farmer?  Things would be much worse.  So, as I told the room, I challenge all of you to help fight the fight.  Join me and the rest of the farm bureau folks and advocacy groups once in a while in speaking the truth to those in charge.  Write a letter, attend a meeting, testify at a hearing.  The folks in Sacramento and DC think they know what’s best for you, when in reality you know what actually works.

With that, I wish everyone good health, happiness, and success in 2019 and always. Happy New Year!

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