Social media isn’t just a realm for entrepreneurs, housewives, and teens with no concept of what the world was like before the iPhone. Government seems to have jumped on board as well. The problem is, as I see it, their actions and words don’t seem to match up very well.
The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has a YouTube page complete with videos promoting the value of California’s many food festivals, and by premise, California agriculture.
“There’s a reason why we are the food capital of the nation,” says CDFA Secretary Karen Ross in one of these video segments. “It’s because we celebrate what we have, and that’s what festivals are all about.”
Who doesn’t want to celebrate the fruits of their labor with friends and neighbors?
Why then are California’s elected officials and appointed bureaucrats trying to plow under that legacy with onerous regulations and other projects that do not benefit agriculture? Why is Sacramento promoting the idea to pave over vast stretches of prime agricultural land with strip malls, bullet trains, and solar panels, if agriculture is so important to California?
I agree that California has much to celebrate when it comes to agriculture. Aside from the blessings of rich soils and a great climate, California growers generate tens of billions of dollars in commodities and more than $100 billion in annual economic activity.
But that is not all.
Educational programs such as 4H, FFA and others exist because of the benevolence of farmers willing to put their money where their mouth is and fund a wide variety of educational activities that benefit local families and school districts alike. Project money is earned by students to perpetuate ag programs in local schools because people in the business community see agriculture’s value for what it is.
Let us not forget the numerous non-profit organizations throughout the Golden State that benefit greatly from the profits generated by California farmers and ranchers. If these farms go away, so too do the proceeds for a whole host of programs that benefit local communities, including zoos, women’s shelters, food banks and high school sports programs, to name just a few.
These agricultural festivals celebrated in towns big and small do not happen in a vacuum. They exist because of California’s rich agricultural production and the cornucopia of great commodities produced by the state’s farmers and ranchers. They also contribute to the rich culture and economy of these towns by providing jobs and the income necessary to help all of California.