At the end of the year it’s time to look at what was accomplished and what’s in store for 2013. CAFA has played a role in Roundup Ready alfalfa battle, and became an intervenor in the lawsuit of the Center for Food Safety versus U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack, and USDA-Aphis Administrator Gregory Parham. This year began with good news on Jan. 5, when the lawsuit against RRA was dismissed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
In the beginning of January CAFA became involved in the USDA’s News Division after it had made a 180. The change occurred after the agency had decided in October to eliminate statistical reports on a wide range of ag commodities. The News Division said it was forced to slash market reports to save $11 million a year, but agricultural organizations protested vigorously and the agency relented. It was a good example of how the agricultural industry can get results when they band together. CAFA’s next step was to work with the News Division as soon as possible. As one board member said, “Getting almost axed on Dec. 30 obviously means alfalfa is shaky and it’s worthwhile to have CAFA up front.”
In February, two board members flew to Washington, D.C. for the National Alfalfa & Forage Alliance (NAFA) “D.C. Fly-In.” This year was NAFA’s second Fly-In and two grower members who attended used their own money for the event. During the Fly-In they met with staffers working with California legislators. Another Fly-In is scheduled for next year and CAFA will continue to make inroads for the alfalfa and forage industry.
One of the other important issues in 2012 is the board of director’s outline to begin a “Strategic Plan” designed to make CAFA more effective. Regardless of changes in 2013 or beyond, CAFA will continue to work hard to serve growers and promote our industry.
Since 2005, CAFA has presented the Jim Kuhn Leadership Award at the Alfalfa & Forage Symposium. It’s presented to a person or an organization for contributions to the California alfalfa industry. The award was established in 2005 when Kuhn, an industry icon, innovator and founder of CAFA, was killed in a vehicle accident near his ranch in El Centro.
This year’s recipient is Joe Machado, who began his career in 1981 after graduating from UC Davis. In 1969, at age 12, his family emigrated from the Azores, where the main industry is agriculture. But he was a “city slicker” before coming to the U.S, he said. Joe worked with his father milking and feeding cows in the SJV until he went to college. Thirty one years after receiving his degree at UC Davis, Machado started his career in the seed industry and plans to keep working in the industry for many more years.
As a marketing alfalfa specialist for America’s Alfalfa, he has made many friends and helps growers improve production and the bottom line. His many years of experience make him sought after and working with growers is his passion. Machado takes pride in “trouble shooting” and determining how better management will increase profits.