December Editorial: Always Sonoma Strong

Written By: SCFB President Jeff Carlton
Published: December 1, 2019

Tragedy has once again struck Sonoma County.  A mere 8 months ago our county was inundated by massive flooding, a year ago it was weeks of smoke from the Camp Fire, two years ago the devastating Tubbs and Nuns Fire ripped through our homes and communities and now another fire, the Kincade Fire, has ravaged our county yet again. Compounding the matter was that most of the county was evacuated from their homes and/or had no electricity and gas from the forced power shutdown for almost a week. It is hard to comprehend the events that have taken place these last 3 years.  However, it is great to see the resiliency of our citizens and the agricultural community rally around each other.

To the first responders, we cannot thank you enough!!!  Cal Fire, our local city and volunteer fire departments, state and out of state fire crews, local sheriff’s office and police officers… thank you, thank you, thank you.

Thank you to our Executive Director, Tawny Tesconi and our entire Farm Bureau staff for stepping up in our county’s time of need.  They were, and continue to be, a tremendous resource to our agricultural community and also spearheaded a very successful fundraising campaign to support those impacted by the fire.  Farm Bureau, along with other groups were instrumental in obtaining crucial access for farmers and ranchers to get to their properties, feed their livestock and protect them in the fire-ravaged areas. I believe many of us in agriculture consider ourselves, in fact maybe even pride ourselves, on being self-reliant.  Some of us may have sheltered in place to protect our livelihood. Hopefully in the future, by working with our elected officials, we can improve that process for the inevitable time that this should happen again.  As I said previously, we value the service and hard work of our first responders but realize that even they cannot be everywhere at the same time. By working together, we can hopefully minimize the devastation. I’ve heard many stories about how people came together to help move livestock to safety, about farmers and ranchers who rigged up generators to run wells and provide water to their employees and about during the power shutoffs how friends and neighbors filled water trucks and parked them at houses in danger to help fight the fires.

As has been stated every time this occurs, “Log it, graze it, or watch it burn”.  These events are happening far too often in California and Sonoma County.  Many of the environmental policies in California have helped contribute to this “new normal” and Farm Bureau must continue to engage our elected officials to change these policies for the better.

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