Monterey County Farm Bureau

Farm Bureau: Agriculture's Voice

Working for You: What MCFB Accomplished in 2018 & 2019

Monterey County Farm Bureau represented farms and ranches on many key issues facing agriculture this past year.  While many of these focused on water (quantity, quality, and sustainability), there were many more issues that Farm Bureau worked on to ensure that farming and ranching can maintain its importance in our County.  We thank our members for their support this past year and hope that we met your expectations for action and involvement.

Here are some of the key issues that Farm Bureau engaged in during 2018 and 2019:

  • Sustainable Groundwater Management implementation – providing feedback on eleven chapters of the groundwater sustainability plan for the 180/400 (Pressure) sub-basin; provided information and feedback on the funding proposals for the Salinas Valley Basin Groundwater Sustainability Agency that were adopted in Spring 2019.
  • Salinas Basin Agricultural Water Association – leading this organization that provides a forum for discussion of elements of the groundwater sustainability plan, as well as managing the process for appointment of directors to the Salinas Valley Basin Groundwater Sustainability Agency, with another election coming in 2020 for the Forebay and Pressure sub-basins.
  • Ag Order 4.0 – met with Regional Water Board Staff and partner Ag associations numerous times to guide the development of the next iteration of the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program; continuing to refine an alternative, with quantifiable milestones, to what the Staff proposed at their meeting of the Regional Water Board members; continuing to work collectively as a region with our partner associations on a solution that works for Central Coast crops.
  • TAMC Citizens Oversight Committee – continuing to push for improvement to our rural roadways and guide the larger, regional projects that will improve our transportation infrastructure; presented to the CA Transportation Commission about Hwy. 101 safety.  Farm Bureau supports the South of Salinas US 101 Traffic Safety Alliance working to secure infrastructure improvements between Salinas and Chualar.
  • H-2A Housing – helping to guide municipalities away from outright prohibitions or moratoriums on H-2A housing within their jurisdictions; working to find solutions on how and where new H-2A and domestic worker housing projects can get approved and built.
  • Salinas Valley Water Project Biological Opinion – working with MCWRA staff to provide National Marine Fisheries with options that are acceptable to landowners and farming operations; participating in the long-term planning process for the Salinas River watershed, which will lead to the development of a Habitat Conservation Plan for all reaches of the river channel.
  • Monarch Butterfly Conservation Plan – provided extensive feedback to the management plan issued in Fall 2018, which has potential impacts to local agricultural production in the areas of food safety and habitat maintenance.
  • Desalination for Monterey Peninsula – supported the CPUC proposed decision to allow the desalination facility north of Marina to be built, at sufficient daily production, to supply fresh water to the Peninsula area in lieu of Carmel River diversions; supported the inclusion of the Return Flow Settlement, protecting the Salinas Valley Groundwater Basin, as part of the final decision; opposed the ballot measure that will force public ownership of the water purveyor system on the Peninsula.
  • Prop. 65 Labeling Changes – successfully opposed, with a large coalition of business organizations, changes to how Prop. 65 hazardous warnings will be calculated for future postings at farms and businesses throughout the state.
  • Monterey Bay Community Power – appointed to the Citizens Advisory Council as the only agricultural representative from the tri-county area; provided substantial feedback to agency staff on agricultural power needs and shortcomings of grid connections.  Started Energy Committee in 2019 partially in response to PG&E bankruptcy.
  • Salinas River Channel Maintenance – providing administrative support to the Salinas River Management Unit Association in their third full-year of channel maintenance.
  • Illegal Dumping – brought this issue to the attention of County Supervisors and Administrative Officer, resulting in a meeting of multiple departments throughout the County to de-compartmentalize the follow-up actions; worked with County’s Environmental Health Department on providing workshop for growers experiencing illegal dumping.
  • Homeless Camping – alerted Sheriff’s Department to illegal camping adjacent to agricultural fields; worked with municipal staffs on possible solutions for implementation; brought together landowners and others concerned with camping and trash along railroad right-of-ways in city and county jurisdictions.
  • Crop Advisors – worked with UC Cooperative Extension and others to push for replacement of crop advisory positions lost through retirement; met in Berkeley with ANR staff to discuss elevation of our local positions to higher priority for recruitment; continue to push for better solutions to the UC CE funding challenges in the state budget.
  • Travel Time – supported efforts by local growers to elevate awareness of travel time lawsuits and the impacts that adverse court decisions could have on the costs and efficiency of labor.
  • Produce Recalls – provided communications from FDA to local growers on food safety recalls, including romaine lettuce recall in November; responded to numerous media inquiries on recalls; continue to monitor how food safety measures are reviewed by LGMA and the implementation of the FSMA as it applies to local crops.
  • Scholarships – with Young Farmers & Ranchers and American Ag Credit, provided scholarships to two twelve college students in agricultural curriculums; continued financial support for three Farm Day events education third-graders on local food production.

 

Monterey County Farm Bureau is proud to represent our local farmers and ranchers as their voice in these issues currently pressing on the Ag community.  We encourage your feedback to any of these issues, or others, as a way to help guide our efforts in the coming months.  Please send your comments to administration@montereycfb.com and we appreciate your continued support!