Farm Leader Welcomes National Focus on Drought

Taylor Hillman General

Continuing coverage of President Barack Obama’s visit to the Central Valley
As farmers and ranchers across California continue to feel the effects of the worst drought on record, the president of the California Farm Bureau Federation thanked President Obama for meeting with farmers and stakeholders today in the San Joaquin Valley.

“We appreciate the national attention being brought to the drought by President Obama’s visit as well as the recent visit by Speaker Boehner,” CFBF President Paul Wenger said. “I am encouraged by the disaster assistance and increased regulatory relief the president mentioned today, but more needs to be done to get California through this crisis and prepared for the future. Now is the time for a bipartisan solution that will help with both immediate and long-term needs.”

Wenger emphasized the need for key agencies to provide flexibility in the water system, the need for an increase in aboveground storage and the need to recharge groundwater as important elements to solve long-term water problems.

“The current regulatory structure fails to balance the needs of rural communities and farms with the needs of species,” he said. “Farms and rural communities must be a priority when making water availability determinations, in order to assist with drought recovery.”

Wenger pointed out that Southern California is not feeling the drought as badly as the rest of the state.

“That’s because Southern California has invested in water storage and in effective management of that storage,” he said. “The entire state needs to follow that strategy.”

Wenger said Farm Bureau will continue to work with state and federal officials to achieve these long-term solutions.

The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of nearly 78,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of more than 6.2 million Farm Bureau members.