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Brian Dahle for California Assembly District 1

As November 6, election day, draws nearer, the advertisements for candidates and propositions grow increasingly more negative and vile. It is no exception in the race for California Assembly District 1. I am all for supporting your candidate, but if you cannot do it without lying about the other candidate, spreading misinformation and turning negative, perhaps your candidate is not worthy of your support. I fully support Brian Dahle and endorsed him the day after I spoke to both he and his opponent Rick Bosetti, following a presentation I did at the Sierra Cascade Logging Conference.

Why do I enthusiastically endorse Brian Dahle? It is simple. First, when I asked him what he was most proud of he responded my family and my family farm. Second, he then asked what my concerns were and he proceeded to make time to meet with me and discuss the future of California and the north state…specifically inquiring what he could do to help. Brian is sincere, humble, caring and passionate for the well-being of his district, particularly the agricultural community. My simple test after I get to know people is the “Would I Let Them Babysit My Son” test…in Brian’s case, without hesitation. Brian has a strong moral compass, is honest and has a positive attitude.

In regards to the recent advertisements being run by his opponent, they are despicable. Brian has opposed dam removal since the beginning of the campaign. In fact, he supports increasing California’s ability to store water to help meet the current and future needs of our state. Many may not realize that Brian and his family experienced first hand when the feds arbitrarily shut off the water to the Klamath Basin. The fact that individuals who may support dam removal have contributed to his campaign simply indicates that he has earned their respect and trust…that is a positive in my book.

I want a representative who has integrity and is willing to reach across the aisle, communicate with diverse demographics and reach solutions that are based on commonsense. Brian has my complete support.

Water, Salmon, The Scott River…The Real Story

The following is a letter that was written to California Governor, Jerry Brown, from a radical, environmental antagonist who, despite knowing the truth, felt the need to intentionally lie, spread misinformation and attempt to bring unwarranted regulatory hardship upon the agricultural community in the Scott River Watershed.

I have long tried to be understanding of opposing points of view. However, the view points were based on honesty and integrity. Mr. Pace’s letter is deliberately dishonest and lacks any aspect of integrity. It is letters such as this that continue to divide communities and cause needless ill will, for the benefit of individual attention…not the benefit of the environment or the community.

My corrections to the misinformation are in bold.

 

October 25, 2012

Governor Jerry Brown

Via Web Form on Governor Brown’s Web Site

http://govnews.ca.gov/

Dear Governor Brown,

Your intervention is needed immediately to prevent a tragedy in the Scott River Valley. A large number of Chinook Salmon are in the Scott River waiting to get to their spawning grounds. However, because the Farmers Ditch is running full at an estimated 6-8 cubic feet per second 10 full days after irrigation was supposed to end under the Scott River Adjudication,the Scott River is dewatered and disconnected in the area below the Farmer’s Ditch is diverting the full flow of Scott River. 

The Farmers Ditch was dry from August 19 through October 23. Prior to the 19th of August, the California Department of Fish and Game asked if we would close our headgate at the fish screen, to hold water in the first 200 yards of our ditch to provide habitat for salmonid fingerlings, due to the mainstem Scott River going sub-surface several yards below our point of diversion. We cooperated and shut our ditch off. Until there is 20+ cfs above our point of diversion, the river will not connect. The water right is for 36 cfs , a full ditch. we reopened our headgate on the afternoon of October 23rd to utilize our livestock water right, as cows are returning from the mountains and need water to drink. What Mr. Pace failed to mention, was that the staff gauge at the headgate, where he trespassed on private property to take several of his pictures, read 6.8 cfs, hardly a “full ditch.” It is now October 30th, five days after opening the headgate, and the water has yet to reach the last two users on the ditch. This is due to it being dry for over three months. We are within our adjudicated right and NO irrigation is taking place.

Unless this ditch is turned down or off soon, Chinook salmon will not be able to spawn in the Upper Scott River, the east Fork, the South Fork, Sugar Creek, Wildcat Creek and several other tributaries. Spawning and production fro the largest run in recent history will be lost. The benefit of millions of dollars the state and federal government has spent restoring habitat above the Farmer’s Ditch will be rendered useless and ineffective. This is something you can and should stop.

This stretch of the river will connect once we have temperatures below 30 degrees for at least four days, in order to “shut down” the water uptake from our unmanaged forests. This has been the case for the past 50+ years. As stated before, until the trees shut down, or until we receive substantial rainfall, the river will not connect below our point of diversion. This is an area that historically was dredged for gold and the river goes subsurface. Also, Sugar Creek enters the Scott River below the Farmers Ditch. It is not even flowing with enough volume to reach the river. This is natural.

Irrigators along the Farmers Ditch are using the pretext of a stock-watering right to continue irrigation far beyond the legal irrigation season. I have pictures showing that some of the fields being irrigated do not even have livestock in them. I also have pictures of the full ditch and the dewatered river below this diversion. I am going to send those to the press this morning along with a copy of this message to you. If you will supply me with an e-mail address that will get noticed, I’ll send those pictures to you too.

The two ranches, of the ten that have a water right on the Farmers Ditch, that have green grass, began pumping water from below the ditch, up the hill to irrigate. The other eight are dry and have no forage. Mr. Pace is aware of this ability and is deliberately lying…despicable. In fact, it is was because of the lack of ditch water that the two ranches installed pipe from below the ditch in order to deliver water to fields for irrigation when the ditch ran dry. Mr. Pace was fully aware of both of these projects occurring, the first over five years ago. 

For years I and others have been asking your Department of Water Resources, your Department of Fish & Game and the State Water Resources Control Board which you appoint to address this abusive and intentional lawbreaking. A few years ago, I presented a PowerPoint to the SWRCB which showed illegal, out of season irrigation being done from this very ditch.

Once again, Mr. Pace’s allegations are fallacious and lack truth and basis….period.  The water right holders on the Farmers Ditch have not irrigated past October 15th. In fact, there have only been two years out of the past twelve that we have actually had enough water in the ditch to irrigate later than September 10th.

A few years ago this ditch was turned on in the Spring in a manner that dewatered the Scott River below the diversion. Several hundred thousand Salmon and Steelhead died as a result, including listed Coho Salmon. While state officials knew about this and referred the ditch manager to the DA, only a slap on the wrist resulted and the matter was not reported to or by the press. In this way, state officials and the DA countenanced lawbreaking and thereby encouraged that lawbreaking – and the dewatering of the river – to continue.

The Farmers Ditch has a year-round water right and has always cooperated with the CDFG to benefit salmonids. Once again, Mr. Pace is intentionally lying….period. There have been several years when our ditch has cooperated with the CDFG to maintain habitat in our ditch for salmon, to prevent loss. The alleged accusation by Mr. Pace is far-fetched at best. No communication from any state agency was ever received regarding any such instance. The one occasion that we are aware of, when a couple of salmon were stranded and died, occurred when the CDFG failed to trap survivors when the river was drying up, due to a holiday. It was because of the “holiday” that the biologists did not trap the fish and in that time period the river went subsurface and the fish died.

In spite of numerous attempts over the past ten years to get responsible officials to do their sworn duties in order to stop the illegal irrigation and illegal use of this ditch in violation of several Water and Fish & Game Codes, these officials have done nothing.That is why I am contacting you in hopes that you will take action to help the Scott River Salmon and all the other water users who suffer bad publicity because of the illegal actions of this one irrigation district or private group of irrigators, i.e. those who control the Farmers Ditch in the Scott River Basin.

Ironically, due to the voluntary efforts of the local natural resource stewards, despite the antagonists best efforts, we are having a record run of salmon this year. I for one am very excited that we have the returns that we are seeing…I think it is a great thing…and shows that salmon are resilient, follow ocean conditions and the existing habitat conditions allowed for excellent escapement. We do not need more interference from so called “environmentalists” nor regulation from state and federal agencies. We do need to accept and allow mother nature to run her course.

Please, please take action quick for the Salmon and the People.

Via Web Form

Felice Pace

In conclusion, no “illegal irrigation” is or has taken place. The Scott River is snow-fed. Currently, with the lack of management in our forests, due to the efforts of Mr. Pace and the organizations he represents and works with, we will continue to see lower flows, even in average water years. Plain and simple, our evapotranspiration rates are out of balance and we are well beyond optimum tree density. The farmers and ranchers in the Scott River Watershed have been very proactive in habitat enhancement and voluntarily providing water and habitat for the benefit of salmonids. Mr. Pace and the others who continue to slander the efforts of the true natural resource stewards only seek to divide communities and in the end, harm that which they claim to be “fighting” for.

Degrees, Could They Be More Useful?

When I saw the article on Yahoo last week, ‘College Majors That Are Useless,’ I was reminded of some thoughts I had last May when it first ran on another site. After digging around my laptop a bit, I finally found some notes I had jotted down.

First and foremost, I do not believe that ‘Agricultural Degrees’ are “useless.” However, unlike many, rather than compose a response that points out the value of such a degree, I was struck with the thought, “could agricultural degrees be MORE useful?”

For that matter, could all degrees be more useful?

Personally, I think a quality and broad education, no matter the “degree” associated with it, is only useful if the person is able and willing to apply what they have learned. (But that is another post.)

For the purpose of this post, I am referring to all agriculturally related degrees: animal science, crop science, soil science, agricultural business, horticulture, etc.

Keeping in mind, that agriculture is an ever-changing industry, constantly developing and implementing new technology, becoming more efficient and modifying production practices; are colleges offering and requiring courses for their degree programs that are relevant? Read more…

“Control The Conversation…NOT!”

September 27, 2011 11 comments

This post is a result of my seeing multiple posts on Twitter, Facebook and even in print that simply cause me to shake my head and ask, Why?

Why are we so afraid of encouraging people to speak from personal experience?

Why are we so afraid to of encouraging people to share their unique perspective?

Why can’t we embrace differences and work together to solve challenges that we all face…together.

Why?

ENOUGH ALREADY….PLEASE!!!

I am still seeing “professionals” and organizations talking about “controlling the message,” “controlling conversations,” providing “talking points” for those who are going to be in the “spotlight” and not being able or willing to trust people or even their own members.

“Don’t let anyone tell you that you have to be a certain way. Be unique. Be what you feel.” – Melissa Etheridge 

NEWS FLASH: People are unique. Perspectives are unique. Everyone has a different story to share, a different way to share it and that is what makes different people interesting to different people.

Positive relationships are developed on mutual trust and respect.

Mutual trust and respect is a result of open and honest conversations.

Open and honest conversations can only occur if individuals share their own story, their own way, in their own words.

If our objective is truly to reach understanding, between those in a respective industry and those outside, all of the individuals must be themselves and speak from personal experience.

Controlling messaging and controlling conversations will never lead to trust, respect or a positive outcome for anyone.

“I am disillusioned enough to know that no man’s opinion on any subject is worth a damn unless backed up with enough genuine information to make him really know what he’s talking about.”H. P. Lovecraft 

 

Photos, Private Property and Politics

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…

Pollan Makes Some Pertinent Points

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey

 

I recorded the Oprah show, Go Vegan For A Week,  that aired last week with Michael Pollan as a guest and the topic being veganism. I finally had a bit of time to watch and digest what had been said. Because society is no longer connected to the food that they eat, shows such as this tend to make me a bit nervous. Call me paranoid, but when a major celebrity, a popular documentarian and an author are giving advice to a million plus people on “healthy” eating, I get skeptical. On issues pertaining to health and diet, consult a doctor and for information on agriculture, talk to a farmer or rancher. There were three primary “nuggets” that I thought were of significant importance, one of which I found myself in partial agreement with Michael Pollan and another with Oprah Winfrey.

First, I was impressed by the inclusion of the video from Lisa Ling’s visit to Cargill. While it may have been “shocking” to those not familiar with the beef industry, it represented how agriculture has changed by blending efficiency, quality and animal welfare. Cargill, as shown in the video, has implemented modern technology, handling methodology and designs by Temple Grandin that reduce stress on animals. What I really appreciated about this video was the fact that a major company was willing to allow cameras to enter one of their facilities to share their part of the agricultural story. Read more…

Response to PETA Article in Sacramento Bee

I am writing in response to the opinion piece that was published in your Lifestyle section on October 11, 2010. It is sad that you would publish an article by an animal rights activist that paints every farm, ranch and animal facility with one broad brush of inaccuracy and fallacy. The vast majority of farmers and ranchers treat their animals humanely and respectfully. As a rancher and an active animal welfarist, I would like to share the following thoughts.

Read more…

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