By CDFA Secretary Karen Ross
As we take this moment to note the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, I’d like to call attention to our farmers, ranchers and farm workers; and the great work they do every day, no matter what Mother Nature throws at them. The twist that they—and all of us—are dealing with this year brings a whole new test of their adaptability and resiliency.
They are meeting the challenge the only way they know how – through hard work and dedication in working with their employees to deliver food to grocery stores and food banks while simultaneously contending with a collapse of other parts of the supply chain. And they’re doing all that while maintaining all-important environmental stewardship.
The livelihood of farmers and ranchers is tied to the land and to our communities – the understanding of natural cycles; sowing, tending and harvesting; conserving, recycling and streamlining; learning and improving. These cycles and so many more are at the heart of farming.
Every day is Earth Day in agriculture. Our farmers and ranchers are restoring the health of our soil, turning dairy emissions into energy, conserving water, reducing and optimizing fertilizer use, protecting pollinators, incorporating wildlife conservation into their business plans, and doing dozens of other things that contribute in real, quantifiable ways to combating climate change. And because of California’s leadership role in agriculture, we are also a beacon for other growers around the world to learn about what works and multiply our successes on their own land.
I’m proud of everything our farmers and ranchers and farm workers are doing, and I’m honored to be part of a department that helps them achieve these goals. I want them to know that we’re here for them through this crisis, and we will move forward with them when it’s over.
I wish you all a 50th anniversary of Earth Day that is full of progress and optimism.