Bakersfield was built on agriculture, and it is important that we always remember how much of the area’s economy is reliant on the fertile fields surrounding our city. Last month, Bakersfield College led the effort (thank you Lindsey Ono, Chris McCraw, Leah Carter, and Mary Jo Pasek) to bring additional focus to agriculture, and to have a broad conversation on the issues and opportunities facing the southern San Joaquin Valley. This was part of the Learn@BC! series for 2014-2015.
Thank you, on behalf of Bakersfield College, to Congressman Kevin McCarthy, our honorary chair and keynote speaker, for his time. Thank you, Senator Jean Fuller, for taking the time to talk about water issues and legislation. Thank you, Congressman David Valadao, for helping our attendees understand more about the issues and trends affecting agriculture in the valley. Thank you to California Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross, for your time speaking to the group about upcoming needs of agriculture on a statewide basis.
Lindsay Ono has done a nice brief on the Ag Summit in his newsletter the Renegade Ranch roundup.
Here are a few excerpts from his writing:
When Congressman Kevin McCarthy made his opening remarks at the first-ever Kern Agriculture Summit on October 14, he spoke sharply about how amazing it was that agriculture – arguably the top industry in the valley – had never come together to discuss the matters that affect the valley, state, and nation………
The hard topics, such as water and immigration, were not ignored, as
both Congressman Kevin McCarthy and Senator Jean Fuller tackled the water
bond which is up for vote on November 6, and local farmer Greg Wegis told
an impassioned story of the personal side of immigration and farm labor.
We were honored to have Karen Ross, Secretary of Agriculture for the
California Department of Food & Agriculture, join us for the day. Secretary
Ross spoke about the 400 commodities produced in Kern County and
California, which is a $33 billion industry. Paul Wegner, president of the
California Farm Bureau echoed Secretary Ross’ numbers – California is the #1
state in agriculture production. Statistics like these are the reason why
Bakersfield College took on the challenge of presenting the Kern Agriculture Summit.
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If you couldn’t join us this year, plan to be here next year, because Bakersfield College will do this again! Until then, our Agriculture Summit website has great information, video, and photos from the day! We’ve submitted a “Community Voices” article to The Bakersfield Californian about the event and hope it will be published soon.