Farm Bureau leader: Member involvement is the key
» December 4, 2006 «
President Doug Mosebar pledges to protect family farming and ranching
After a tumultuous 2006 that featured damaging rains, a punishing heat wave, a crucial election and intense policy debates about immigration and food safety, the leader of California's largest farm organization issued a strong message to family farmers and ranchers: They must embrace change and remain engaged with local, state and national decision makers.
California Farm Bureau Federation President Doug Mosebar addressed more than 800 people attending the organization's 88th Annual Meeting today in Anaheim. Mosebar, a farmer from Santa Ynez, promised to "preserve, protect and enhance our farming way of life" and outlined issues he expects farmers to confront in the coming year.
With the E. coli outbreak in spinach continuing to affect demand for fresh greens, Mosebar said the incident had taught farmers that "we must refresh and re-check our farming practices so we can continue to assure consumers that our food is safe.
"We must face the fact that it will take everyone to make our food safety reputation whole again," he said. "We must practice unity and uniformity 100 percent of the time. We must also collaborate in new ways with health and regulatory officials."
Noting that many farmers had trouble hiring enough people to harvest their crops this year, Mosebar pledged that Farm Bureau would continue to press for comprehensive reform of federal immigration laws, including a guestworker program for farms and ranches.
"We all agree that our borders must be secure, but we need to differentiate between people who cross the border to take advantage of our system and those who come to perform needed work," he said. "A workable guestworker program would contribute to a secure and well-managed border. We need Congress to deal with this challenge before the next harvest."
The new, Democratic majority in Congress will affect the immigration debate as well as efforts to reform the estate tax and next year's expected debate on federal farm legislation. Mosebar urged Farm Bureau members to make frequent, face-to-face contact with members of Congress, state legislators and other decision makers.
"Building meaningful and valuable relationships is the key to protecting family farms and ranches," he said. "We build our momentum through your involvement."
The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of nearly 92,000 members.
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