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Representation: Farm Crisis

Farm Crisis Task Force begins searching for solution

Facing a widespread farm crisis, California agricultural leaders held a January 30, 2001, meeting of a new Farm Crisis Task Force of the California Farm Bureau Federation.

Riverside County Farm Bureau Vice President Cindy Domenigoni is one of the participants.

This first task force meeting considered purpose, goals and timelines, and assessed statewide perspectives and opportunities including the view from the ag policy perspective, what the ag fiancial analyst expects and political possibilities and realities, and discuss Task Force options. The task force is expected to focus on the symptoms and solutions to low commodity prices, burdensome regulations and soaring production costs.

Riverside County Farm Bureau's Board of Directors cited a series of priority issues for a statewide Farm Crisis Task Force. Responding to a query from Domenigoni at their January 10, 2001, board meeting, directors suggested priorities include: Energy; Retail consolidation; Overseas trade; Labor; Level playing field for imports re pesticides; Regulations in general; Pests such as Pierce's disease and red imported fire ant.

Domenigoni planned to take the local priorities to the statewide meetings.

CFBF President Bill Pauli of Potter Valley chairs the statewide task force, which planned to meet in January, February and March of 2001.

"The problems affecting the state's farm economy are complex and numerous," said Pauli. "The Task Force will not only explore the serious problems farmers face but also potential short-term and long-term solutions to restore profitability to farms and economic strength to rural communities."

The members of the task force were selected from the federation's 21 districts, which cover 53 county Farm Bureaus.

Members of the task force representing Farm Bureau districts are Paul Betancort of Kerman, Anthony Botelho of San Juan Bautista, Duane Chamberlain of Woodland, Vito Chiesa of Hughson, Mike Cox of Brawley, Cindy Domenigoni of Winchester, Tom Gamble of St. Helena, Mark Kochi of Yuba City, Denis Lewis of Lodi, Dave Mostin of Lakeport, Bob Nash of Redding, Ed Ortega of Freedom, Buck Parks of Adin, Craig Pederson of Lemoore, Alan Price of Irvine, Cathie Ragghianti of Catheys Valley, Mike Robinson of Stockton, Linda Tenbrink of Suisun, Victor Tognazzini of Santa Maria and Kerry Whitson of Exeter.

Three additional members are Stacy Gore of Durham, who chairs the 2001 CFBF Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee; Doug Bentz of Durham, chairman of the CFBF Rural Health Department, and W.R. "Reg" Gomes, vice president of the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

An action plan drafted by the Task Force will be used to pursue remedies in Sacramento and Washington, D.C. The farm crisis will be the focus of a delegation of county Farm Bureau leaders when they visit the California congressional delegation this spring.