Kings County Farm Bureau is a non-profit advocacy organization formed in 1918. Its primary goal is to ensure every farmer has the right to farm and protect their heritage. Too often, agriculture is painted in a negative light when someone hears or reads a story on the industry.
As an industry, we listen to those stories and often complain to fellow agriculturalists, then move on. We see the work in progress by industry groups like the Farm Bureau and tell ourselves that it is enough. Enough to combat the negative story seen on the news or written by an activist group. Sufficient to convince an elected official that the industry is full of good people trying to do the right thing, which it is. Where we fall short is in telling our story, not letting someone tell it for us.
This column is a place for us to tell that story. To share the story of the world's safest and most reliable food supply, explain the challenges on the horizon impacting the ability to produce that supply, and to ask you occasionally to respond to a call to action that will help keep farming alive in Kings County and California.
In the exceptional year that is 2020, the world has faced challenges never before seen. Agriculture is no exception. Food production in California has met some of the most significant obstacles to demand and resources. Unlike many industries in the state, agriculture did not have the opportunity to stop production and formulate a plan to start again. Pushing the pause button on plant and animal production is not an option. Neither is disrupting the food supply chain.
So, what did the industry do? They put their heads down and kept working. They made sure food was available while consumers stalked their pantries and freezers. They created work plans to protect their employees while at work. They filed reports on water usage, pesticide applications and food safety. They worked countless hours irrigating and managing pests, feeding and milking. They did the things they do every day to ensure the rest of the world can eat. At the same time, they worried about COVID-19 and how it would affect their families, friends and employees.
Telling the story of how your meals make it to your table is the reason for this column. Recognizing the hard-working families that stock the shelves at your local grocery stores and shelves around the world. Thanking your neighbors that work hard every day so that you can eat and pursue your dreams while not worrying about where your food is coming from.
We want you to understand what it takes to put a meal on your table. The challenges in getting it there and how you can help ensure it is their tomorrow.
Dusty Ference is the Executive Director of the Kings County Farm Bureau.
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