Most folks have noticed, it is fire season in California and most of the western United States. What many may not know is that the ‘brilliant’ state of California has also begun to send out ‘fire suppression’ bills to the rural residents of the state to raise an estimated $84 million to help fund Cal Fire, the agency responsible for battling wildfires.
This new tax has been levied on only the rural residents, without a 2/3 vote, simply because they live in the areas where fire is most prevalent and because the state budget was $10 billion in the red, the general fund is empty and the Cal Fire budget has more than doubled over the past 10 years.
I’m sorry folks, but this new tax is wrong, unfair and should serve as a major wake-up call to all residents of the state.
First, most of the western forests are now more than 300% overstocked due to the general public’s support of stopping logging and preventing healthy forest management which has resulted in excessive fuel loads and diseased forests ripe for devastating fire. Second, most of the long-term rural residents of the state have done extensive fire-proofing on their property. Third, public officials have done little to curb development in forested areas, let alone plan for fire events. Fourth, many rural Californians already pay a local fire fee to support local fire districts and fifth, this new tax will discourage rural residents from passing future bond measures and initiatives to support local needs.
This tax needs to be withdrawn, period. Forests on public lands are a public resource and their management should be paid for by the public. It is long past time for active management to return to all western forests. There are jobs to be created, revenue to be generated for local schools and communities and money to be saved from fighting fewer fires, which would be less devastating if management were allowed.
Forests are a renewable resource…and more quickly renewed through active management practices than as a result of recovery from a fire, which often times devastates the soil. It is time to return commonsense to the way we manage our forests and run our government. Just saying….
Demonizing companies and individuals through the use of misleading and false information is never productive. More times than not, fissures are created, within families, communities, states, the country and even the world. It is very acceptable to question actions and results, but let us remember to remain objective in our assessment, research the origins of the information and pass on only that which is true. Passing this type of information along, without doing research on it, is just as irresponsible as passing along an email that says the world will end if you don’t forward to your whole address book.
I have seen a number of people posting on Facebook and Twitter lately, that they have signed one of a couple of petitions currently circulating with a host of claims against Monsanto. Many of these people I consider to be friends and respect. I felt inclined to write this post to provide some additional information in order to clarify several of the accusations that are being claimed. I, for one, as a small farmer and rancher, am very grateful for the work that work that Monsanto and others are doing to help farmers be more efficient and holistic in their management opportunities.
It has been a while since I posted and for that I apologize. The primary reason was that I did not want publish a post that was not uplifting and positive, so close to Christmas.
Four weeks ago I helped bury a dear friend and had to put a mare down who broke her leg, in the middle of the field, with no holes around, apparently from running, or being chased. Then, three days later, one of our mares, who had just foaled, was killed by either a mountain lion or bear and a cow was killed on the same night, perhaps by a pack of coyotes or the same lion or bear. Read more…
Off and on, over the past few months, I have seen and participated in several discussions relating to labeling and specifically, labels relating to GMO’s. Twitter is not the best place to have this discussion, in my opinion, so I have put together my thoughts on the subject here.
GMO vs GEO
I catch myself using these two terms interchangeably and I should not be. There is a major difference between genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) and genetically engineered organisms (GEO’s).
Modify: to limit; to make minor changes in; to make basic or fundamental changes in often to give a new orientation to or to serve a new end.
Engineer: the creative application of scientific principles to design or develop structures; to construct or operate the same with full cognizance of their design; to forecast their behavior under specific operating conditions.
All biological organisms, plants, animals, bacteria, etc., have been modified, or changed, since the beginning of time. In some cases it has been through natural processes, outside of the direct influence of man. In other instances, man has directly modified through selection. For example, keeping wheat that had more grains per head, grass that could tolerate drought, cattle that gain weight quicker or more efficiently are all manners in which man has modified organisms.
GEO’s, on the other hand, have been engineered my man to exhibit specific traits. Plants have been engineered to withstand drought, repel insects, disease and the infamous herbicide Roundup. Arizona State provides a fairly clear dissertation on Plant Genetic Engineering. Read more…
I received an email the other day from a friend…an email that at first I thought was a joke, a spoof, one of those emails that once you read part way down says something to the effect of “Gotcha! Things aren’t really as bad they seem.”
I read through the synopsis…waiting to come to the “Gotcha” part…it wasn’t there…this was a legitimate proposal by the Department of Labor.
I was dumfounded at first…then a state of disbelief…followed by a wave of legitimate anger.
How could anyone seriously propose these new regulations for agricultural employment of children?
What is even worse, is that it will negatively impact and make illegal, many of the routine activities considered by the department to be “work” that occur on a daily basis on all farms and ranches. Read more…
A lively #agchat discussion on the EPA last night prompted some further discussion on twitter during the after party. 140 characters was just not enough so I have thrown together some further thoughts here.
First, I have no doubt that the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), CEPA (California Environmental Protection Agency), CAQCB (California Air Quality Control Board), CWRCB (California Water Quality Control Board) and the NCWQCB (North Coast Water Quality Control Board) were all implemented with the best of intentions. However, we all know where the road goes that is paved with good intentions. My comments are on all of these agencies as they overlap and often work together to address the same issues that I have been involved with. Also, these thoughts are from my personal experience in dealing with these agencies as they relate to my area: National Forest, private timber, irrigated and non-irrigated ag land, water quality and salmonid habitat. Read more…
There has been a fair amount of discussion recently over legislation being submitted across the country that would make it illegal for someone to photograph or shoot video on agricultural operations without the permission of the owner. Discussions on this type of legislation has been very polar, with folks either in full support or adamantly opposed. I find myself aligning more in the middle.
First, Senator Jim Norman (R) of Florida proposed the legislation, SB 1246, on Feb. 21, 2011.
“An act relating to farms; prohibiting a person from entering onto a farm or photographing or video recording a farm without the owner’s written consent; providing a definition; providing penalties; providing an effective date.”
Also considering similar legislation is the state of Iowa which introduced, on March 2, 2011, House File 589.
“HF 589 addresses concerns of bio-security of Iowa’s animal industry and the well-being of animals. The bill protects livestock and crop operations against unauthorized destruction, killing or injuring of stock, or disruption of agricultural or bio-technical operations on an owner’s premise. Additionally, it makes it unlawful to produce, possess, or distribute an unauthorized recording (sound or image) at an animal or crop operation.” Read more…