Plan lays out road map for state ag to 2030
It isn't epic, but it is at least constructive that a coordinated and cooperative California agriculture has developed a strategic plan to help the industry and its friends navigate to the year 2030.
The document, called Ag Vision 2030, was introduced in December at a ceremony on the west steps of the Capitol in Sacramento. Newly elected Gov. Jerry Brown took part in the festivities side by side with retiring state Secretary of Food and Agriculture A.G. Kawamura.
To develop the Ag Vision format, the State Board of Food and Agriculture mobilized dozens of leaders in the many commodity organizations, associations, businesses and university branches that are part of the mammoth California agricultural industry. They spent countless hours focusing on their own versions of crystal balls.
Everything from the availability of land, water and climate to the fluctuations of foreign populations, from environmentalist extravagance to economic turmoil was considered and studied. The vision is as clear as men's minds and machines can make it.
Perhaps the greatest value of the document will be in the response to it by legislators and others in positions of public trust. If they take it seriously and count on it for guidance, the effort to produce it will be worthwhile.
Certainly the governor's confidence in Ag Vision will be a key to its long-term effectiveness. Persistent encouragement for him to do so should come from the new secretary of food and agriculture, Karen Ross.
Although Ross has been away from California agriculture for two years as the U.S. secretary of agriculture's chief of staff in Washington, D.C., she is intimately familiar with the Ag Vision document. As the 13-year executive officer of the California Association of Winegrape Growers, she contributed significantly to its concept and development.
Keeping the goals and challenges of the document in front of the governor might be one of the most strategic duties that Ross performs from her vantage point at the California Department of Food and Agriculture, situated only a few blocks from the governor's office.
While Ag Vision focuses on California agriculture, it also incorporates a broader, more inclusive view of agriculture and the global scene. It includes the forces and features of tomorrow's world and the place California agriculture occupies in them.
Encouragement for developing the Ag Vision report and guidance for its inclusion of a broader viewpoint came from American Farmland Trust (AFT). This national organization concerns itself with the preservation of the nation's farmland and its capacity to produce food, fiber, fuel and financial stability.
AFT has been a strong participant in California's agricultural planning and growth affairs for years. At least three permanent staff members are located in California, attuned to the state and the future of the agricultural industry,
So the homework has been done and the report filed. Whether events follow the direction of the Ag Vision predictions and proscriptions, the agricultural industry through this document has provided a measuring stick.
Better yet, the Ag Vision process is ongoing. Leaders of the various areas of emphasis have received a second wind. They will constantly measure unfolding events against the outlook provided by the original document. They will recommend adjustments and revisions as necessary.
Like all road maps, Ag Vision 2030 will only be helpful to those who can read it and are willing to follow it. Time will tell whether the political, environmental, industrial, labor and consumer sectors can read the map, and whether they can muster the will to follow it.
CONTACT Don Curlee at email@example.com