By CDFA Secretary Karen Ross
As Christmas approaches this year, I’ve been on the road quite a bit and I’ve spoken with a lot of farmers and their families. On the drive back from Monterey, and before that from Napa and Sonoma, and up and down the Central Valley, I’ve seen the lights strung along fence lines, and the festive decorations at our wineries and dairies and so many other kinds of farms and ranches and agricultural operations.
I find myself getting a bit nostalgic this year, remembering Christmases on my own family’s farm in western Nebraska. How the snow and the solitude and the silence were such a part of the season. How family was always at the center of it. How there was still work to do – no presents were opened on Christmas morning until the cattle were fed! Even when everything was weighted by a chill, we would take the time to simply be with one another during the holidays, sharing stories, laughing, enjoying good food – lots of it – and letting the laughter seal our memories of things truly worth remembering about each other, about all that binds us together the rest of the year.
There is something special about Christmas on a farm, and it warms my heart to know that so many of the people I work with, both here at CDFA and in the larger agricultural community, are experiencing it as part of their family’s celebration this season. This farm girl is the luckiest person in the world to get to do what I am so passionate about for people and issues. Though I work in an office most days now, I remember Christmas on the farm, surrounded by the land (these pictures show the wide open spaces of my childhood) and immersed in all the potential that the land gives us. It makes me proud to work for farmers, for ranchers, for Californians who appreciate what this industry does, what it means. And, I am especially grateful for the fantastic people who work at CDFA. They are dedicated true public servants!
So Merry Christmas to you. And especially for those of you spending the season on the farm, enjoy your family and all that is so special about this wonderful place, California, that agriculture calls home.