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Opinion: County Farm Bureaus Innovate During Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting shelter-in-place protocols and safety concerns disrupted rural communities and markets for agricultural products. Around California, county Farm Bureaus responded with innovative solutions intended to help their members ensure safety of themselves, their families and their employees, and to promote and sell crops and commodities in new and rapidly changing conditions.

Here are three examples among many, showing how county Farm Bureaus in California have supported their members and their communities.

Water Year 2019 Leaves Reservoirs With Good Storage

As water years go, 2019 was all wet. With the new water year beginning Oct. 1, farmers and forecasters hope for more of the same. Tulare County farmer Zack Stuller described 2019 as a “fantastic year” for water.

State Seeks Comment On Its Water Resilience Portfolio

In a new effort to balance California’s water needs, Gov. Gavin Newsom has directed state agencies to prepare a water plan known as the California Water Resilience Portfolio that includes “a comprehensive strategy to build a climate-resilient water system.” The portfolio features a broad approach that addresses safe drinking water, flood risks, depleted groundwater aquifers, water supply uncertainty for agriculture, and native fish populations faced with extinction.

Technology Offers Options To Farmers

Amid employee shortages, groundwater issues and other challenges, farmers in Monterey County and elsewhere are looking to the tech sector to help them bring their crops to market.

Parker Jones is one of those seeking to help farmers do more with less. Two months ago, he launched a custom-farming operation, Hermanos Automated Services, renting out a weeding machine that largely replaces hand labor in lettuce fields. It’s made by British-based Garford Farm Machinery.