By Karen Ross, Secretary
California Department of Food and Agriculture
The most visible elements of what we do at CDFA are about today: inspecting today’s harvest, stopping today’s invasive pest or animal disease, or responding to the latest emergency. And all of that is important, even urgent. Has to be done now; has to be done well.
But the other side of that coin – the forward focus – is every bit as important. As we’ve gone through this historically strange and trying and indeed mournful time, with COVID-19 and wildfires and drought all doing their worst, it is the focus on a better future for our farms and our families that pulls us through.
Governor Gavin Newsom’s leadership is helping this department and this industry incorporate equity and climate change not just in our policies but in our daily decisions and conduct. That’s the kind of resolute and forward-thinking leadership we need to build a future that is proudly, distinctly Californian.
While CDFA is here to protect our state’s agriculture and environment from what threatens today, we also help you develop on-farm practices that will improve yields, save water, reduce inputs, and adapt to climate change. We help farmers and ranchers prioritize research, pool resources, conduct demonstration projects, convert to new tech. That’s helping farmers make their own futures.
This report, “California Agriculture: The Focus is Forward,” is by no means an exhaustive list of everything CDFA did in 2021. We would need a lot more pages for that. What it is, though, is a representative expression of our value to producers, consumers, the environment, and the state. I’m proud of this work. Most of all, though, after more than a decade of service as California’s Agriculture Secretary, I am proud of the people in this department who, like the farmers and ranchers we serve, know both the meaning and the reward of “a good day’s work.”