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
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.