Help Your Neighbor

Written By: President Jennifer Beretta
Published: May 12, 2021

As I sit here attempting to write this month’s editorial realizing I’m a week behind the dealing the amazing staff at farm bureau set for me and thinking “what am I going to write on”? I wanted something positive but unfortunately 2021 has not turned out as most of us hoped. Some wins are the vaccine roll out (the state is set to open June 15th), Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma is going to run a one-day style show for livestock, and youth sports are happening. But when I think overall, we are taking some huge blows. We are sitting in one of the worst droughts of my lifetime and for many it has been since 1976-77 that they saw it this bad. Small farmers aren’t in business or due to water issues not planting their crops. Some grape contracts aren’t being renewed, and livestock producers are selling beef calves early or even getting rid of milk cows to make sure they have enough water to get through summer. I wonder what’s going to be the next blow to Sonoma County agriculture. Food cost are going to rise, we aren’t going to have the local supply we once did, and food is going to come from outside of California. I truly hope that through this pandemic and the drought our county officials have realized the need for local food processing and water storage. Thinking of taking down Lake Pillsbury is so crazy when that is a dam that feeds the Russian River, the red tape they put on pulling water from the ground will soon get harder and let me tell you agriculture doesn’t want to pull from the ground. We have to because avenues like the city treated water is going other places for money other than going to ag land to grow green pasture and recharge the aquifers. The red tape to put a processing plant to harvest livestock or wash our produce makes our consumers pay more for food or will have to look elsewhere. If there is one thing that I know about Sonoma County agriculture, it is we will stick together and in times like these we need to help our neighbor. No one wants to see a multi-generational farm go out of business. So, I challenge everyone to ask your neighbor how they are doing, offer a helping hand, sit in in a meeting where your voice can be heard and fight like hell. It’s going to be a long summer, but we made it through a pandemic we can get through this drought.

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