January Editorial: New year, New Challenges

Written By: Jeff Carlton, President
Published: January 2, 2020

I think it is safe to say that most of us in Sonoma County are all too happy to see 2019 in the rearview mirror.  It was a year that brought many hardships to the agricultural community.  However, no matter what is thrown at us, I am always in awe of how our farmers and ranchers take challenges in stride with a positive attitude.  We can always count on friends and neighbors coming together to help each other during the tough times.

Although 2019 was a tough year, through it all, Farm Bureau was there advocating for and protecting agriculture. Farm Bureau was working tirelessly to stay on top of DXE and keep our members aware of their current and future actions in Sonoma County.  For the Onsite Waste Treatment Systems manual (septic) that the county was updating, we worked to get regulations approved that we suggested, resulting in saving our members thousands of dollars in unnecessary inspections and upgrades.  We’ve represented the agriculture industry’s stance with the GSA’s, the Potter Valley Project, Russian River TMDLs and hemp as well.  I invite you to check our website, read our excellent Farm News, created by our amazing staff, to see in detail all the ways Farm Bureau is working for you.

This year will surely bring new challenges including the implementation of the District 2 Water Boards WDR’s and potential development of District 1 in the next couple years. To help tackle this and other regulations, Sonoma County Farm Bureau has created a new “Compliance Division”.  Our goal with this is to work with our members and help them through this cumbersome regulatory process, should they need it.  Obviously, in no way are we operating in some regulatory capacity, but through the Farm Bureau, we have been able to lessen fees for the WDR’s.  We also plan to help collect data for the frost water regulation that has been in place for several years and to help growers comply with the stationary diesel engine registration from CARB.  As we develop this new area of Sonoma County Farm Bureau, we know it will be challenging, but our goal is to help you through these tough times and this fight, together.

Last month at our California Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting our past CFBF President Paul Wenger said, “As farmers and ranchers, we talk pessimistically, but we live optimistically.”  That phrase really struck me as very true.  This year and the next years will undoubtedly bring new challenges but we will live optimistically and face them together.  Finally, I would like to congratulate our 1st Vice-President Jennifer Beretta, for being elected as Chair of the CFBF Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee.  As in Sonoma County, I know she will bring her hard work and dedication to developing the leadership skills of the next generation of agricultural leaders.

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