U.S. Interior Secretary Sees California Drought Impacts Firsthand

Brian German Agri-Business, Water

California Drought Impacts
Past CFFA Chairman Kevin Herman talks with U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Touton, and Congressman Jim Costa.

United States Interior Secretary Deb Haaland recently visited the Central Valley to see the California drought impacts in person. Hosted by Congressman Jim Costa, the farm tour and discussion also included U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Touton, California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross, and Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot. 

“We started with a roundtable at Fresno State about the current water situation. We had water managers and farmers in that discussion. It was a really good discussion about collaboration,” Ross noted. “We are only going to succeed by working together and making the hard decisions together and understanding what are the resources that are going to be necessary for some of the changes that are happening.”

The group spent time touring an almond orchard, seeing what the California drought impacts look like on the ground. Kevin Herman of The Specialty Crop Company and past California Fresh Fruit Association (CFFA) Chairman hosted the group at the Madera County ranch. Herman explained that they have pulled out 200 acres of almonds due to the lack of available water. “That really made an impact on Secretary Haaland to just see and understand firsthand from the farmer those decisions and how challenging they are,” said Ross.

Secretary Haaland and Commissioner Touton visited several areas of the state while in California, highlighting funding support to help improve water conditions. Ross noted that farm visits like the one in Madera are important for fostering further understanding and cooperation at a federal level.

“We appreciate the time Secretary Haaland has taken to visit California and, specifically, to meet with CFFA members to hear first-hand about the effects of the drought on agriculture,” CFFA President Ian LeMay said in a press release. “Every person in our state, nation and world relies on agriculture, and we value when our state and nation’s leaders take the time to get boots on the ground to learn about the impacts of drought on our industry.”

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West