Commentary: As you focus on today's harvest... don't forget about tomorrow's harvest


Issue Date: September 8, 2010
Paul Wenger

Paul Wenger

It's finally arrived. After one of the coolest summers I can remember in my neck of the woods, harvest has finally begun. Like many of you, we're a bit later than normal and worried about how the harvest winds up, with weather concerns as well as meeting early markets for our walnuts and almonds. In talking with our members—from rice growers to winegrape and tomato growers and everyone in between—all are anxious to get into the full swing of harvest, with expectations of a successful year and limited distractions or complications from weather or breakdowns.

With the traditional harvest season upon us, it's easy to focus on what we need to do today or tomorrow and forget about the next month or two. I always need to make an extra effort to plan for those things I need to do now that are so important for next year's crop, like soil amendments, post-harvest irrigations and the like.

One thing that is easily overlooked but will have huge impacts on all of our businesses, especially in agriculture, is the Nov. 2 General Election. Before we know it, ballots will be arriving in the mail, or we will be making that trip to the polling booth to take advantage of our electoral process of selecting the individuals who will serve in various governmental positions over the next two to six years, depending on the office.

We need to devote the time now to make sure we take full advantage of electing commonsense leadership. There has never been a more critical time to elect competent, visionary leadership at all levels of government.

This year, many legislative proposals with negative impacts to agriculture have found their way to the governor's desk for signature, only to be vetoed. Gov. Schwarzenegger has been open to hearing agriculture's concerns and agreed that many of the proposals were unnecessary or would have had deleterious effects on our industry. With so few legislators in California understanding agriculture, it is extremely important to have a governor who will be open to hearing our views on legislation that affects our business. Meg Whitman will be such a governor.

We also have an opportunity to elect a U.S. senator with actual business experience, someone who understands the challenges of making a payroll amid the highly regulated business environment in California—all the while trying to remain profitable. While many businesses can and do relocate outside our state, farmers and ranchers are hostage to the barrage of regulations that most times have little discernable value and are costly, process-driven money sinks. Carly Fiorina understands the challenges of doing business in California, when your only option is to do business in California.

Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina have reached out to agriculture on numerous occasions to better understand our issues—and both have received the endorsements of numerous agricultural organizations including the California Farm Bureau Federation. The CFBF Board of Directors has also proudly endorsed for statewide office Abel Maldonado for lieutenant governor and Steve Cooley for attorney general.

Not only are these candidates worthy of your vote, they are also worthy of your financial support. So please consider making a contribution to these outstanding candidates.

Farm Bureau supports many other farm-friendly candidates through the Fund to Protect the Family Farm (FARM PAC). You will soon be receiving a letter from your county Farm Bureau president or me asking for your financial support and commitment to changing California. Meg Whitman, Carly Fiorina, Abel Maldonado and Steve Cooley, when elected, will still need supportive individuals throughout the Legislature and Congress. It is our goal to get them that help by identifying and electing business-minded, farm-friendly candidates.

I hope you have a safe, successful, carefree harvest with good yields and favorable prices. But don't forget: If we are to turn the tide against the formidable regulations that affect us all, we must invest some of our hard-earned dollars in our political future. Please support FARM PAC and we will put it to work keeping California the fifth-largest agricultural economy in the world.

Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item.