Farm Bureau Newsletter- July, 2010
Presidents Message-Dick Gaiser
Recently you may have read an article about our cattle operation. The article was written by Ashley Archibald and appeared in the Union Democrat. The article was about the process of “preg” checking some of our cattle and preparing those pregnant cows, and their calves, for a summer on our forest allotment. How and why the article and how the opportunity presented itself is enough for a short story.
Ashley had contacted me, as president of Tuolumne County Farm ‘Bureau, regarding the diesel regulations that the California Air Resources Board had imposed and how they affected agriculture. That was my first contact with her. A bit later, she and I talked about the upcoming candidate’s night and was questioning as to it being alright for her to attend, which it was. Then, more frecently, a very biased article appeared in the Sacramento Bee about cattle polluting the Sierra Nevada waters. As it turned out, the Sacramento Bee reporter had talked to several people about cattle grazing and the lack of pollution in the Sierras, such as representatives of the California Cattlemen’s Association as well as the regional forest service representative on grazing. The reporter was given alternative information from very reliable sources, sources with good science and research background on contradictory information on high Sierra pollution. Unfortunately, that Sacramento Bee reporter, with his agenda, chooses not to alter his article and printed a very damaging piece of yellow press. Two weeks later, that same biased article was printed in the Modesto Bee.
My point in relating this bit of information to you is that this Sacramento Bee reporter had no ties to today’s production agriculture, and felt that it was unnecessary to provide a balanced article, one which provides information from all sides. In working with Ashley, we invited her to participate in our work day, let her know we are people just like her, and thus began the establishment of a relationship that I hope will be good for agriculture in general, and beneficial to those of us involved in providing quality and healthy food.
Yes, her article had a couple of errors in it, as the timing was wrong for me to proof read it, but two very important facts resulted here. One, is the people who read the local paper have a much clearer understanding of just what we are about, and two, (most importantly) we have established a good relationship with a local reporter and improved our relationship with the press.
In closing, I hope to encourage each and every one of you to go out of yuour way to do the same as we did last month. I realize it is more work to get these people to come to your operation, yhou will have to make sure they are treated well, kept out of harm’s way, and you may have to let someone else do your job so that you can make sure that reporter is getting a good understanding of what is going on.
If you choose not to do this, you will ensure the status quo about knowledge of agriculture, and that forlks, is not working.