Onions growing in the southern California desert

Cuba's transition and the joys of Ag journalism

There are those who think U.S. policy regarding Cuba cannot change fast enough. Now that our flag once-again flies over the U.S. Embassy in Havana, perhaps a pathway is being carved to better relations between the two countries.

I recently had the chance to chat with a Cuban pastor who told me, among other things, that one of the issues for Cubans like himself is the access to goods. Yes, economic development needs to happen, and if liberty is nurtured and allowed to grow, it will.

The pastor told me that he recently needed a battery for his car. He had the money to buy the battery but could not find one for his car because they simply were not available.

Extrapolate this out to food products and there likely isn’t a bigger advocate for normalizing political relations with Cuba than the American farmer, who will be free to trade with the island nation.

Still, Cubans are going to need the income necessary to purchase goods and services, and I suspect that will come over time as people see the value in free markets and liberty in general and begin to demand more of both.

It’ll be interesting to watch the transitions in Cuba. Here’s to hoping for the best for the people of Cuba.

More thoughts

My editor, Cary Blake, recently shared some reflections under the idea that this job we call “Ag journalism” isn’t really a job at all, not like installing tire chains on a big rig because nobody else is going to do it for you, taking out the trash when you’re a teenager, or boxing up stuff so you can move into a different home or apartment.

Journalism for me has always been an extension of my creative side – particularly photography. I started there before I began stringing words together into sentences for others to read.

Thankfully for digital photography I am no longer encumbered by 36-exposure rolls of film, or hours sequestered in a dark room inhaling chemical VOCs while trying to keep from setting my donut on the wet side of the dark room.

A farmer once asked me about photography as I was taking pictures in his almond orchard while the “L” was being shaken from his trees. Yep, it’s a lot more convenient with 32-gig cards in my camera – just as long as the card doesn’t feed the camera a fatal “error” message.

I’m always at awe over what growers must do, particularly in California’s regulatory and water-challenged climate – to get a crop. Then of course there is the general and genuine niceness of those farmers.

To me it’s about the people and the relationships. It’s about learning what makes people tick, the things they’re passionate about and this lifestyle we call “agriculture.”

As I like to say: I don’t pick it, pack it or plant it; I’m just a consumer who understands a little about agriculture and is genuinely pleased to know the people who grow it for me.

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