On this day, about 200 people who care about farming, the environment and pest management issues are gathered at CSU Sacramento to begin a promising endeavor: a series of symposia designed to improve our shared understanding and approach to CDFA’s pest management efforts.
This is a new beginning on one of the most urgent of matters. Resources are tighter than ever, so we must focus our collaborative efforts on preventing invasive plant pest and disease introductions and, when necessary, making preparations for a rapid and cohesive response.
Many of us who are involved in this event are no strangers to presentations and meetings about invasive pests and what to do about them. With this series, though, we are taking a somewhat different approach. The discussion doesn’t focus on a single pest, and the participants aren’t all like-minded people; we are not just farmers or community activists, or just environmentalists or government officials. It’s all of us, sharing a table, discussing what the specific issues and challenges are, and deciding collectively to find our way forward together. In order to make that happen, we have to venture out of our comfort zones and think creatively and cooperatively about how we can do better.
California’s agricultural community is accustomed to working from a position of leadership on issues such as pest management, and we have much to be proud of in that regard. Leadership, though, is not merely a position – it is an action, and it requires continuous learning and innovation.
Thanks to all of the participants in today’s symposium. I look forward to the next installment. We have much work ahead of us – but together, we have already taken the most important step.