US Secretary of the Interior Sees First-Hand Effects of California Drought

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WITH THE COURTESY OF: CFA
Former CAFF Chairman Kevin Herman speaks with US Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, US Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation Camille Touton and Congressman Jim Costa.

United States Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland recently traveled to the Central Valley to see first-hand the effects of the California drought. Moderated by Congressman Jim Costa, the farm tour and discussion also included Camille Touton, Commissioner of the United States Bureau of Reclamation, Karen Ross, Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture , and Wade Crowfoot, Secretary of Natural Resources.

“We started with a roundtable at Fresno State on the current water situation. We’ve had water managers and farmers in this discussion. It was a really good discussion about collaboration,” noted Ross. “We will only be successful by working together and making the tough decisions together and understanding what resources will be needed for some of the changes that are happening.”

The group spent time visiting an almond orchard and seeing what the impacts of the California drought look like on the ground. Kevin Herman of The Specialty Crop Company and past president of the California Fresh Fruit Association (CFFA) hosted the group at the Madera County Ranch. Herman explained that they uprooted 200 acres of almonds due to lack of available water. “It really impacted Secretary Haaland to see and understand firsthand these decisions on the part of the farmer and how difficult they are,” Ross said.

Secretary Haaland and Commissioner Touton visited several areas of the state while in California, highlighting financial support to help improve water conditions. Ross noted that visits to farms like Madera’s are important in fostering better understanding and cooperation at the federal level.

“We appreciate the time Secretary Haaland took to visit California and, in particular, to meet with CAPE members to hear first-hand the effects of the drought on agriculture,” the CAPE Chairman said. , Ian LeMay, in a press release. “Every person in our state, our nation, and the world depends on agriculture, and we appreciate that our state and nation’s leaders are taking the time to put their boots on the ground to learn about the impacts of drought on our industry.”

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