democrat bobby bliatout for congress.
Protecting our farms and farmlands.
Like many people in the Valley, I own farmland. In fact, for several years, I also farmed that land. While non-profit health care management is my passion, I still have that deep appreciation for the land and the sweat and dedication it takes to run a successful farm. Here are some realities all farmers understand:
You can't farm without water.
farming is really hard work.
farming is a culture.
growth needs to be managed or our farm lands will disappear.
valley farms feed large parts of our nation and the world.
and, you can't farm without water.
smart solutions for Valley agriculture.
Unfortunately, much of the dialogue about our farms revolves around ideologies–an us vs. them mentality.
I don't think that's a productive way to look at most issues and certainly not when it comes to an important industry like agriculture.
The real issue is everyone recognizing the importance of agriculture as a national strategic resource.
Here are some big things that I believe we all agree on to help preserve farmlands:
concentrate on the small farmers
Farming is a culture. It can also be a profitable business for many working and middle-class families who are committed to the hard work of farming. Every day, there are more and more barriers keeping small farmers from succeeding. There are many reasons why small farms are at a disadvantage. But just like in other industries, small farmers do not lack will or skill–they lack resources. In Congress, I will be fully committed to helping small farmers find those resources through grants and low-interest loans. After all, farming is a culture and if we lose all our small farmers we lose that culture forever.
Farmland Protection Policy Act amendment.
Amend the act to allow California farmlands to be designated as national farm monuments. This special protection would guarantee that farm and grazing lands could continue to be operated by private farmers in perpetuity as long as the use was for agriculture and livestock. The amendment would create a formula for farmers who wished to sell their lands based on fair market value indexed against a private development formula.
a national commitment to innovation in agriculture.
The United States has the best scientists, engineers, and innovators in the world. We also have some of the world's finest farmers. I see no reason why we can't all get together and come up with smart strategies to make our farms the most sustainable in the world as well. We can take innovations such as precise computerized farming and then provide Federal Grants to farmers who cannot afford to pay for new technologies. Eventually, these technologies would become a private market, like solar panels, and everyone will see the benefits of having a more sustainable and less expensive means of getting our farmed goods and livestock to market.
gather our best and most innovative minds to make agriculture more sustainable.
There are many people who misunderstand the realities of farming and believe farmers are against innovation or sustainability. If this were true we wouldn't see so many solar panels on farms. What farmers are against is regulations that make it harder to get their products to market at a profit. Any farmer is interested in a more sustainable and less expensive way to farm.