Farming and Ranching are Essential for California’s Economy and Ecology

Thursday, Apr 23rd, 2020

In a recent commentary in Cal Matters: “Toilet paper short, food abundant,” Dan Walters has made some poignant observations on the importance and value of farming and ranching in California and he describes how the pandemic has brought to the forefront the importance of agriculture to our daily lives and a civil society.

As the Governor and the state’s leaders face the daunting task to rebuild our economy, they will benefit from Mr. Walter’s advice and wisdom as a keen observer on California policy.

  • He salutes the “farmers, farmworkers, truckers, food processors and grocers who have continued to do their vital work, often at the personal risk of becoming infected….We should honor the men and women who work in the fields while most of us shelter in place to avoid infection.”
  • “California is, as everyone should know, the nation’s top agricultural producer, but we have often tended to take that fact for granted. In certain circles — especially among environmental and social justice activists — farmers are dismissed as greedy despoilers. They wrongly imply that there’s no need for large-scale industrial agriculture, and that small-scale organic farmers can meet our needs.”
  • “This crisis should tell us otherwise and whenever it ends, we should emerge with a new appreciation for those who grow, harvest, process and deliver our food — and show that regard in tangible ways.”
  • With respect to our precious water resources, “we should end the decades of bickering over water and build the new storage and conveyance projects that will give farmers what they need to maintain and enhance production as well as meet the demands of families and other water users.” Walters has long recognized the importance of infrastructure investments to improve water security, including the construction of Sites Reservoir.
In the Sacramento Valley, farms and ranches are not only the economic engine the state needs to spur our economy, they also provide ecological benefits through the major efforts underway to improve conditions for fish and wildlife. This multi-benefit water management is the hallmark for the Sacramento Valley and the future of California.

Like a human fingerprint, California’s Sacramento Valley is truly unique. On the leading edge of ecological and economical sustainability, it’s also an exceptional place to live, work and raise a family. The Sacramento Valley joins together a world-renowned mosaic of natural abundance: productive farmlands, wildlife refuges and managed wetlands, cities and rural communities, and meandering rivers that support and feed fisheries and natural habitats. Through efficient management of the region’s water resources, the Sacramento Valley will continue to provide what’s essential to California’s future success and prosperity. Nourishment and sustenance from the fields, habitats for fish and wildlife, recreation and a special quality of life—the Sacramento Valley is home to all of this, and more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *