Calling on the state's farmers and ranchers to help shape the future of agriculture through the same "dogged determination" they use in producing crops, California Farm Bureau Federation President Paul Wenger has urged unified action to address the numerous issues confronting California agriculture.
During his recent address to delegates attending the CFBF Annual Meeting in Pasadena, Wenger urged farmers and ranchers to maintain and enhance their political activities at a time when markets for many California crops and commodities have been strong.
"While we have been so successful at producing more crops and more valuable crops, and doing it on a sustainable, renewable basis, it doesn't always translate that our bottom lines have gone up," he says, noting continued increases in production costs. "That's why there's never been a time that is so critical to work together through Farm Bureau and other allied organizations to advocate for our industry."
Fiscal Cliff Causes Concern
Anticipating a number of issues expected to affect family farmers and ranchers in 2013, Wenger pointed to the immediate concern about the so-called "fiscal cliff" facing policymakers in Washington, D.C. A group of spending cuts and tax increases were to have taken effect on Jan. 1, unless Congress and the administration reach agreement before then.
Wenger called the impact of the fiscal cliff "very real for our farmers and ranchers, especially when you talk about the estate tax." Estate tax rates would be among those that rise on Jan. 1.
"While we want to see the estate tax eliminated, we need to work to make sure there are changes that allow families to stay in ag," he says.
California Farm Bureau provided information for this article.