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Farmers Helping Fish

 

FD and CDFW Group Photo

From left to right: Jennifer Bull (CDFW), Lindsay Magranet (Siskiyou RCD), Preston Harris (Scott River Water Trust), Jeff Fowle (Farmers Ditch Company), Gary Curtis (CDFW), Chris Adams (CDFW)

Scott Valley – 2014 is an extraordinary year. We are experiencing an extreme drought and have had a record number of Coho Salmon spawn in our system. Due to drought conditions, the spawning occurred in the main stem of the Scott River, since there was not enough fall and winter runoff for the salmon to reach the systems tributaries. Record low snow pack, ranging from 4% – 12% of average, has resulted in extremely diminished surface flows, which are dropping at a rate never seen before. To further complicate the situation, salmon from other systems spawned in the Scott River, all the way into late March.

In an effort to try and keep sufficient flows in the main stem, to allow the late spawning eggs to emerge, allow for the 1+ salmon to migrate to the Klamath and the fry to migrate into the tributaries, members of the Farmer’s Ditch Company have put their surface right back in the Scott River to help augment flows. This was a voluntary and collaborative effort between the farmers, the Scott River Water Trust and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

 

Preston and FD

Preston Harris, Executive Director, Scott River Water Trust

 

“We recognize the importance of having as many salmon survive this extraordinary year, not only for our system, but others throughout California, where the salmon were not able to enter due to lack of precipitation and resulting low flows,” said Gareth Plank.

The collaboration between the farmers, the Trust and the Department will keep sufficient flows through a critical reach of the Scott River, for a longer period of time, allowing for natural migration and reduce the need for fish trapping and relocation. Additionally, it will keep eggs wet, in reds from the late spring, to hopefully allow for more hatching and live fry.

The Scott River had over 3000 coho salmon spawn this year, resulting in a potential of 4 million fry.

What Do We Eat? Beefiniroom Casserole!

Squash Casserole on the plate

Tonight was “dad’s night to cook.” We just picked up some fresh zucchini and yellow squash from the local farmer’s market last night (I stuffed and barbecued a big one last night for supper), had some hamburger thawed in the fridge, so I probed my memory and decided on a casserole.

Squash Casserole ready for the oven

The recipe is fairly simple, brown a couple of pounds of ground beef and set aside. Slice and sauté a couple large squash in olive oil, I use oil grown by my friend Irv Leen of  Gold Rush Farms, and set aside. Mix thinly sliced mushrooms, a couple of cups of sour cream, a cube of melted butter and a roll of crushed Ritz crackers with the beef. Spread the beef evenly in the bottom of a 9 x 14 casserole dish. Spread the sautéed squash on top of the beef and then add a couple of cups of shredded cheese over the top. Place in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes and supper is served!

Squash Casserole out of the oven

While waiting the 20 minutes for the casserole to bake, I began to think about the past several weeks… I have been to Washington D.C. to meet with reporters and writers about the use of antibiotics in livestock, discussed organic and conventional production and grassfed vs grainfed beef…PEW held a discussion in Chicago on antibiotic use and superbugs…and Panera launched a campaign insinuating that farmers who use antibiotics are lazy. I recommend you take a look at a well written post by my friend Carrie Mess “Dear Panera Bread Company” and “Here’s What Panera had to say…

Now you are probably asking yourself, what in the heck does this have to do a squash casserole?

Well, remember that ground beef I used, here is the back story.

Read more…

In Support Of A Hero….@TheDaveReynolds

Dave Reynolds

This morning, after finishing chores, I grabbed another cup of coffee to enjoy, while waiting for my son to wake to up. Our plans for the day, cutting more Alfalfa. I sat down at my desk and began browsing Tweetdeck to catch up on the latest happenings around the world.

To my surprise I saw a tweet by my friend @MatthewLiberty:

This was a big surprise and unbelievable.

I stopped my morning and put together this post in support of Dave.

I met Dave through Twitter. I began listening to @99.7theriver each morning because of Dave.

Dave is a caring, generous, self-less individual who loves his community. How much so?

Ty Sullivan (@ty_sullivan) captures the  essence of Dave best in his post “And JustUS for All.”

I showed my support for Dave by calling the Vista Radio headquarters at 250-334-2421 and entered 0 to reach the operator. She claimed to know nothing about the situation, but I told her to relay that I was from CA, began listening to 99.7 The River because of Dave Reynolds and even donated to the Campbell River Food Drive because of Dave.

I encourage all of you to call in and voice your support for Dave, even if you never listened to the show or knew Dave.

Dave earned my trust and respect through his actions supporting his community and those who are hungry.

Thank you Dave for all that you have done.

You have my support!

Food, Farmers, Demons and Monsanto

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.

Read more…

Food Dialogue…Boom or Bust?

September 23, 2011 15 comments

Was the USFRA sponsored “Food Dialogue” successful?

That is the question.

I set aside the time to watch and listen to the entire dialogue, as well as follow the discussions taking place on the Food Dialogue website, Facebook page and on Twitter with #FoodD (the hashtag for the discussion).

It was my intention to listen and observe as an objective person…a challenge…but this was my take on day. Read more…

Time Article Gets It Wrong…..Again!

The recent Time article titled “Getting Real About the High Price of Cheap Food” should have been called “More Mis-Information About American Agriculture,” by a one sided writer who was either too lazy to research his information or is another activist masquerading as a so-called journalist.

Here are 13 quick points to reflect on as they were inaccurate in the article at best.

Antibiotics are no longer fed as a mainstay of rations. Antibiotics are used to treat sick animals and maintain their health and welfare.

In 95% of cases, the farms and ranches were built before communities. Farm and ranch “aromas” are far from being “air pollution.” If you don’t like the smell, don’t build or move near a farm or ranch. Personally, when I smell a swine farm, dairy or beef feedlot, I am thankful that there is a business that is employing workers and feeding the world. Also, be forewarned, farms and ranches operate machinery at all hours of the day and night and might interupt your precious sleep.

Typical liberal journalism blaming agriculture for America’s obesity problem. Stop already! People are free to choose. People choose to eat what they do and choose to not exercise. Take personal responsibility for your own situation, stop passing the blame.

Farmers and ranchers apply the amount of fertilizer that will be utilized by the crop. Excess fertilizer application is not common practice. First it is not economically beneficial, and second, it is not environmentally friendly. Farmers and ranchers work very hard to manage the soil health so that future generations are able to utilize the land.

Modern technology and management practices implemented by American Agriculture have reduced erosion across the country. In fact, public policy that has removed livestock grazing from public lands has actually led to more catastrophic wildfires, leading to sterile ground and massive erosion events.

The attempt to link disease resistant bacteria in humans to antibiotic use in livestock is unfounded. No studies have directly linked this accusation.

Doug Gurian-Sherman’s quote is either out of context, or he shows that he needs to get back in the field. Modern farming techniques are more water and power efficient, reduce erosion, and are increasing the fertility. Farmers and ranchers are soil builders.

Back to fertilizer: Farmers and ranchers regularly test the soil for nutrient balance. It would be unethical to not replenish the soil with the necessary nutrients to maintain its health.

Government subsidies do need to be addressed. Once again, an example of government involvement resulting in inefficiency. However, those that are so adamantly against farm subsidies should also be just a strongly opposed to the current administrations involvement in banking, insurance, car companies and proposed health care program. Is it not ironic that Time / CNN support these other subsidies?

Saying that livestock production is “dependent” upon “cheap grain” is also inaccurate. Livestock production depends on affordable commodities. If consumers were willing and able to pay more for their food, producers could afford to pay more for commodities. It’s basic economics.

“It simply costs too much to be thin.” A grossly exaggerated statement at best. How much does it cost to get off your bottom side, put on a pair of shoes or boots and go for a run, bicycle ride or hike? How much does it cost to NOT buy junk food? Answer? NOTHING…..ITS FREE, HEALTHY and COMMON SENSE!!

News Flash to Robert Martin of the Pew Commission, antibiotics are not the “cornerstone” to production. They are not “widespread” or “overused.” Commonsense would indicate that humans need to stop over using antibiotics. It is ok to get sick once in while and recover WITHOUT the use of drugs. Your immune system will be stronger and you will be healthier.

“Sustainable” should NOT be confused with “Organic.” Sustainability encompasses many factors of production. Conventional and organic farms and ranches can be sustainable. Likewise, they can also both be unsustainable. Going “natural” or “organic” is not a magic bullet to instantly be “sustainable.”

Categories: Uncategorized

Siskiyou County Continues Williamson Act

By Dale Andreasen
Daily News
Thu Aug 13, 2009, 09:45 AM PDT

Yreka, Calif. –

Followed by resounding applause from the crowded chambers, board chair Michael Kobseff said. “As long as I’m a board member in Siskiyou County, I’m going to support the Williamson Act.”The remark was made during a spirited discussion at Tuesday’s board of supervisors meeting. Supervisors and others discussed what the county should do in face of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s veto last month of $28 million to fund the act that has helped preserve agricultural lands and open spaces in California since 1965.

Land owners who sign a Williamson Act contract get substantial breaks on their property taxes by agreeing to keep the land in agricultural production or as open space. The state has been subsidizing the counties for the loss in property tax through a subvention program.Siskiyou County had been receiving about $780,000 per year in subvention payments.

Last year it was cut to $700,000. This budget year it will be zero unless the program is restored by a lawsuit, by the Legislature, or by the governor. Farmers, ranchers and environmental groups support the program. Public Health and Community Development Department Director Terry Barber pointed out that seven contract applications are currently “in the pipeline” and she needed guidance as to how to move forward. Two of the applications are for amendments to existing contracts and five are new applications for an additional 1,446 acres to be put into the program.She informed the board that there are currently 419,000 acres, over 10 percent of the county, involved with Williamson Act contracts.

The supervisors unanimously voted to accept the new applications and give the applicants the option to withdraw or continue at a later date pending what happens to the Williamson Act funding. If an application were withdrawn, the unused portion of their $600 fee would be returned.After much discussion, the supervisors also voted unanimously to continue with the Williamson Act program whether it is funded or not.

The vote was remarkable since both Barber and county counsel Tom Guarino pointed out that the current contracts are self-renewing and that a vote was not necessary.The only way the existing contracts would not be renewed would be if a vote were taken to discontinue the program, explained Barber.Senior county assessor Lauri Foster said there are about 400 Williamson Act contracts currently in effect.“In a nutshell, if we are looking at non-renewal, the tax liability of these property owners could double. Some would quadruple and some could be 10 times as much. It’s not simple, each parcel would have to be assessed separately,” she said.Planning Director Greg Plucker spoke during the discussion also.During a public comment period, Jim Morris of the Siskiyou County Farm Bureau asked the supervisors to honor the existing Williamson Act contracts. Otherwise, he said, the increased taxes would be burdensome.“But if these people were forced to subdivide their land, it could be worse for the county,” he added.

Lifelong Scott Valley property owner Mike Bryan also spoke in favor of honoring the contracts. Otherwise, he said he could make more money by subdividing his land. He asked the board to “do everything in your power to preserve open space.”

Jack Cowley, of the Siskiyou County and California Cattlemen’s Association, said he’s been involved with the Williamson Act for years. He said California is expecting a population increase of one million people.“Agricultural land is necessary to feed the people,” he said. “We have to have land to produce food.”

Supervisor Marcia Armstrong said it is important to recognize that Siskiyou County’s economy is agricultural, which, she said, generates twice as much revenue as tourism.“It’s really important that we support agriculture,” she said in an emotional statement.“I would like to believe that the funding will come back,” said Supervisor Ed Valenzuela, “but if it doesn’t, where do we get the $700,000 that we will miss out on?”All five supervisors voted to support agriculture and open spaces in the county and continue with the Williamson Act contracts whether the subvention money comes in from the state or not.

County Administrative Officer Brian McDermott had lunch with Assemblyman Jim Nielson Wednesday. McDermott said Nielson understands the position of the county and said “he will do everything he can to help restore [Williamson Act] funding.”

Categories: Uncategorized
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