Seed For Thought: Ag Must Toot Its Horn

The other day, for about the umpteenth time, I was reminded of the fact that growers just don’t get the credit they should for being thoughtful stewards of natural resources. “True Environmentalists” is a term I like, a contrast to the Prius-driving self-described “environmentalists” who, while they may very well be sincere, actually do little in the way of environmental conservation compared to the farmers they routinely criticize.

The reminder came in the form of a quote from the strategic plan released late last year by the California State Board of Food and Agriculture and partner organization known as California Agricultural Vision 2030, or Ag Vision for short. The board’s chairman, Craig McNamara, cited the quote in making a point about stereotypes of agricultural irrigators as water wasters: “California growers have significantly increased efficiency as measured by ‘crop per drop.’

Between 1967 and 2000, the amount of water applied to the state’s irrigated cropland increased 9.6% …. During the same period, production for field crops, fruit and nut crops and vegetable and melon crops jumped from 35.8 to 67.7 million tons, an increase of 89%.”

Get Involved

That’s a pretty impressive statistic, yet I don’t think I’ve read and heard hardly anything in the consumer media about how growers are careful water conservationists. Why? Well, that’s due in part to the fact that farmers don’t tell anybody. Or perhaps they don’t shout it out loud enough. The more you growers give the general public a look at what you’re doing, the better off you’re going to be when the tough political battles begin. Here are a couple of recent examples of efforts to give you ideas.

D’Arrigo Brothers, the large Salinas, CA, grower of lettuce and other greens, has started holding cooking classes for children ages 7 to 10 called “It’s all about the VEGGIES.” Each child will get to choose between a D’Arrigo apron or lunch box, will receive a copy of the recipes prepared in class, and learn a little about a healthy lifestyle. Parents/guardians are of course welcome to participate. Not only that, they will get to “shop” in the Andy Boy mini farmers market for veggies, sip on wine, and sample the creations prepared by their child in class. Think D’Arrigo’s going to gain some fans, both now and for the future? Sure, it’s a small group, but you have to start somewhere.

Another neat-sounding program is the “Great Veggie Adventure,” in which University of California Cooperative Extension small farm advisors are embarking on a search for potentially profitable vegetable varieties not commonly found in grocery stores — and this time they are sharing the adventure with elementary school students. The “Great Veggie Adventure” is an effort launched by the makers of Hidden Valley Salad Dressings to identify a vegetable that few people have heard of, but that children might just love. What a terrific way to gain life-long fans of vegetables — and the people who grow them.

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories

CitrusForecast: South Florida Dry Season May See Fair Share Of Damp Days
October 31, 2014
Outlook calls for possible above-normal precipitation around region for fall and winter months. Read More
ProductionDrought Forcing California Growers To Rely On Groundwater
October 31, 2014
While the state issues curtailments to those with junior rights, growers are increasingly relying on groundwater to irrigate their crop. Read More
Crop ProtectionThe Unlikely Parallel Between Human And Plant Health
October 31, 2014
One of the notable national developments in the summer of 2014 was the unexpected occurrence of serious respiratory infections in Read More
VegetablesWhy You Should Be Trialing New Vegetable Varieties
October 31, 2014
Selecting high-performing selections is no easy task. Read More
FruitsCalifornia Growers Sue State Over Drought
October 30, 2014
They claim the State Water Resources Control Board illegally denied water deliveries. Read More
CucurbitsNew Watermelon Planting Program For The Southeast U.S.
October 30, 2014
Sakata seeking to make regional impact by providing in-demand material through several local producers. Read More
Leafy Vegetables3 Can’t-Miss Cabbage Varieties For Florida Growers
October 30, 2014
Reed's Seeds highlights a trio of high-performance selections for Sunshine State producers. Read More
Insect ControlTake Control Of Thrips In Your Greenhouse
October 30, 2014
Why such a foreboding title? Thrips, one of the tiniest pests of greenhouse crops, are the carrier of one of Read More
BerriesManage Black Root Rot Of Strawberry
October 30, 2014
Controls include preplant nematode analysis, three-to-five year crop rotations, and more. Read More
FruitsSexual Evolution May Bear More Fruit In The Orchard
October 30, 2014
Scientists take a closer look at genes and find new plant breeding possibilities. Read More

The Latest

CitrusForecast: South Florida Dry Season May See Fair Share O…
October 31, 2014
Outlook calls for possible above-normal precipitation around region for fall and winter months. Read More
ProductionDrought Forcing California Growers To Rely On Groundwat…
October 31, 2014
While the state issues curtailments to those with junior rights, growers are increasingly relying on groundwater to irrigate their crop. Read More
Crop ProtectionThe Unlikely Parallel Between Human And Plant Health
October 31, 2014
One of the notable national developments in the summer of 2014 was the unexpected occurrence of serious respiratory infections in Read More
VegetablesWhy You Should Be Trialing New Vegetable Varieties
October 31, 2014
Selecting high-performing selections is no easy task. Read More
FruitsCalifornia Growers Sue State Over Drought
October 30, 2014
They claim the State Water Resources Control Board illegally denied water deliveries. Read More
CucurbitsNew Watermelon Planting Program For The Southeast U.S.
October 30, 2014
Sakata seeking to make regional impact by providing in-demand material through several local producers. Read More
Leafy Vegetables3 Can’t-Miss Cabbage Varieties For Florida Grower…
October 30, 2014
Reed's Seeds highlights a trio of high-performance selections for Sunshine State producers. Read More
Insect ControlTake Control Of Thrips In Your Greenhouse
October 30, 2014
Why such a foreboding title? Thrips, one of the tiniest pests of greenhouse crops, are the carrier of one of Read More
BerriesManage Black Root Rot Of Strawberry
October 30, 2014
Controls include preplant nematode analysis, three-to-five year crop rotations, and more. Read More
FruitsSexual Evolution May Bear More Fruit In The Orchard
October 30, 2014
Scientists take a closer look at genes and find new plant breeding possibilities. Read More
Apples & PearsWashington Apples To Restart Shipments To China
October 29, 2014
Agreement reached between U.S. and Chinese governments to reinstate market access after two-year absence. Read More
EquipmentEnter To Win A Kubota At The Washington State Horticult…
October 29, 2014
Attendees have a chance to take home a new utility vehicle courtesy of Wilbur-Ellis and Western Fruit Grower. Read More
CitrusUSDA To Provide $4 Million For Honey Bee Habitat
October 29, 2014
The funds will go toward helping growers implement conservation practices to improve honey bee health. Read More
FruitsHuge California Drought Meeting Planned
October 29, 2014
State, federal officials to meet as forecasts for the coming year look bleak. Read More
PotatoesNew CEO At Black Gold Farms, A Top 100 Grower
October 28, 2014
Eric Halverson takes the reins at the potato operation, while his father Gregg will remain president of the farm’s board of directors. Read More
FruitsValent U.S.A., MGK Enter Into Marketing Agreement
October 28, 2014
Valent U.S.A. to manage the marketing and sales of MGK’s crop protection line of insect control products beginning in April 2015. Read More
VegetablesMultistate Land-Grant University Research Project Contr…
October 28, 2014
The project began in the 1970s as a Regional Initiative and has since expanded Internationally. Read More
FruitsMichigan State Offers Online Database Of Tree Fruit Dis…
October 28, 2014
Search engine helps growers identify several issues in the orchard. Read More