Farm Leader: Aggressive, strategic advocacy needed
» December 6, 2010 «
To succeed in advocating for their members, farm organizations must work together and be aggressive and strategic, according to the leader of the state's largest farm group. California Farm Bureau Federation President Paul Wenger says the coming change in administrations in Sacramento underscores the need for farm groups to enhance their political activity.
In an address to the organization's 92nd Annual Meeting in Monterey, Wenger noted that cooperation among farm groups has allowed California farmers and ranchers to pass legislation that supports their businesses, and to head off potentially damaging bills. With a new administration and many new legislators taking office in Sacramento, Wenger said farm organizations must step up their commitment to political engagement.
"It has to be that if you cut a farmer, we all bleed," he said. "We have to pull together and make sure we work for the common good of our industry, because every one of our industries is so dependent upon the other."
Wenger said farm organizations must focus in particular on assuring reliable water supplies for California. He noted that Farm Bureau supported the water bond originally scheduled for last month's ballot, which has been postponed until the November 2012 election.
"We cannot grow in this state without new water infrastructure," he said, adding that forecasts about the impact of global climate change include less snow and more rain for California.
"If that holds true, we need more reservoirs and we need them to be on streams, so we can slow the water so we have less flood damage and we have more water to be used not only for environmental purposes, but also for hydroelectric generation, for municipal and industrial use, and for the production of fresh food for a growing population," Wenger said.
To achieve the policies that will protect California agriculture, he said, the state's 45,000 commercial farmers and ranchers must commit their "time, talents or treasure" to political action.
"Because we are so diverse, we need to pull together," he said. "We need to arm our folks who use their talents on our behalf. We can do better and we must do more."
The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of 81,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of more than 6.2 million Farm Bureau members.
Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item.Top