Professor says cling peach growers don't buy climate change
Count a majority of farmers among skeptics about man-caused climate change, a University of California, Davis professor said at a Marysville conference Wednesday.
"Most growers aren't believers," said Ted DeJong, a professor of tree crop physiology.
He commented at the Sacramento Valley Cling Peach Day conference at the Yuba County Government Center after being asked if climate change was considered as among reasons for smaller peach sizes in 2012.
DeJong, who noted he had no certain answers for changes in the peach crop last year, had said a warm spring may affect the size of the fruit.
He said the cause of changing climate isn't as crucial as the reality.
Whether you believe it's man-made or just ritual cycles doesn't matter, DeJong added.
"We're all in it anyway," he said. "As agriculturists you just have to deal with it."
The professor said after his talk that growers are aware of changes in climate, but some see them as part of traditional swings that have taken place over centuries. Some growers, he added, resist the politics that produce remedies for climate change.
"It may be more their being skeptical of government," DeJong said.
Gurpreet Dosanjh, a peach grower in Sutter County attending the conference, said changes in climate are part of the natural cycle.
"I don't think it's anything man-made," he said.
Paul Takhar, who also grows peaches in Sutter County, agrees and said so far this winter has followed typical patterns.
Jason Bane, spokesman for the Boulder, Colo.-based Western Resource Advocates, a nonprofit environmental law and policy organization, said the West appears to be on pace for continued drought conditions that he links to climate change.
"We've always had droughts," Bane said. "Now they're happening at an exponential rate."
He also said he doesn't know that most growers are skeptical about climate change.
"Opinions are changing so much," he said.