ADVOCACY: Your Farm Bureau Working for You

Written By: Tawny Tesconi (Interim Executive Director)
Published: May 1, 2018
As the united voice of Agriculture, our MISSION is to represent, protect and
advance the social, economic and educational interests of the farmers and
ranchers of Sonoma County.

Here are the key issues we have been working on:

State of California Water Board, Waste Management Plans (WMP) for Dairies

We are working closely with our local dairy farmers and the North Coast Regional Water Board on a Waste Management Plan (WMP) that will blanket existing dairies under one permit. For decades, dairies have been following effective waste management practices and any additional regulatory requirements put on these operations is unjustified. Most notable, is the inclusion of language related to AB52, a bill passed in 2014 that added the requirement for tribal consultation into CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act). The draft Waste Management Plan (WMP) being discussed has language that includes tribal oversight of waste management on dairies. SCFB is concerned about the inclusion of this requirement in the draft WMP, and we are working with water board staff, Western United Dairyman and California Farm Bureau Federation to eliminate this requirement.

City of Santa Rosa, Reclaimed Water Program

The Farm Bureau held a meeting for all ag users who participate in the City of Santa Rosa Reclaimed Water Program. Working together, we plan on solidifying contractual language, rate information and best management practices that will support the diverse needs of the various commodities that use this water. An educational outreach campaign will also be developed to educate the public and city officials about the benefits provided by agriculture using this recycled resource.

Groundwater Sustainability Agencies and Groundwater Management Plans

Many of our Farm Bureau members serve on the board and advisory committees for all 3 GSAs. We are closely monitoring the activities of the GSAs and their progress toward rate structures and Phase 1 of the project related to plan development. We are concerned about the significant costs related to plan development in all 3 basins and some of the proposed funding mechanisms being suggested. Farm Bureau is also promoting a recharge credit system that would benefit farmers for their effort toward sustaining local ground water supplies.

Proposed Housing Bond

As outlined in President Dutton’s editorial, based on the current draft of the countywide housing bond, Farm Bureau is opposed to the bond because of the burden it will have on the agriculture industry. Agriculture is the only local industry that has made significant progress with remarkable success toward workforce housing and the proposed bond fee structure unjustly overtaxes all farmers, wineries and landowners. It is not fair for agriculture to pay more than their fair share for housing inventory when we have a proven track record of shouldering our labor housing with little public monies.

Forestry

Sonoma County Farm Bureau has joined neighboring bureaus in supporting a proposed incidental take avoidance measure directive related to the northern spotted owl.

Marin County Dairy Farmers

Sonoma County Farm Bureau submitted a letter in support of Senator Levine’s resolution supporting ranching at Point Reyes National Seashore.

Santa Rosa FFA Ag Issues Team

Members of our Natural Resources Committee proctored the Santa Rosa High School FFA’s Ag Issues team by acting as a mock judge’s panel for the students. The panel was impressed with the quality of debate and poise that the students demonstrated.

SCFB Endorses the Following Candidates

• David Rabbitt for Sonoma County 2nd District Supervisor

• James Gore for Sonoma County 4th District Supervisor

• Mark Essick for Sonoma County Sheriff

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To represent, protect and advance the social, economic and educational interests of the farmers and ranchers of Sonoma County.