California Farm Bureau president advocates protecting vital agricultural economy

California Farm Bureau President Jamie Johansson opened the organization’s 103rd Annual Meeting with a call for climate-smart agriculture that is supported by policies that don’t compromise farmers’ ability to bring crops to market.

“We need to be allowed to be efficient,” Johansson told Farm Bureau members, who are gathering in Orange County for their Dec. 5-8 meeting. “As we deal with climate change impacts and legislation coming down the pike, make no mistake. It is not a climate solution if you make farmers less efficient. It simply won’t happen.”

California farmers and ranchers are currently facing a historic drought that has resulted in severe cuts in water supplies for thousands of farms. In addition, California agriculture has been impacted by the pandemic, supply chain disruptions and wildfires.

Johansson urged protecting America’s largest and most vital agricultural economy in the face of such challenges. He called for California to protect reliable water supplies for farming by building major water storage facilities overwhelmingly approved by California voters who passed California’s Proposition 1 ballot initiative in 2014.

“First and foremost, we need predictability,” Johansson said. “This past year has been anything but predictable.”

Johansson said California agriculture is built on foundations from the generations that preceded today’s farmers and ranchers, even as agricultural production has evolved considerably over the years as it adjusts to an ever-changing marketplace, new regulations and climate and water challenges.

He called for thoughtful review of policies impacting agriculture and for Farm Bureau members in California and nationally to make their voices heard.

“There’s going to be change, but it has to be directed by the experts,” Johansson said. “That is us, in agriculture. That’s the voice of Farm Bureau, and American Farm Bureau. We need to direct our paths and stand up, because the whole country is taking notice now.”

The California Farm Bureau works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of nearly 31,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of nearly 6 million Farm Bureau members.