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 Farmers in a battle to protect family farm -- Cal Fed
California Farm Bureau Federation, Lost River Star, December 15, 1999

California farmers and ranchers are in a battle to protect the family farm, build their public image and fight regulations that threaten their land and water, according to the  president of the California Farm Bureau Federation. Bill Pauli, addressing members at the CFBF 81st annual meeting in Monterey, called 1999 successful, but "chaotic."

"This past year has underscored the fact we are in a battle for our way of life," Pauli said. "It's a war to protect the family farm, to protect our water rights, to promote free and fair trade, to put common sense in environmental regulations, and it's a war to affect public opinion."

The Farm Bureau leader said one of the year's greatest challenges was protection of farmers' water rights at a series of public hearings on the Cal-Fed Bay-Delta Program, attended by hundreds of vocal Farm Bureau members.

"Farm Bureau let Cal-Fed know in no uncertain terms that this plan is not acceptable," said Pauli. "only through a balanced solution and increased water storage can we provide for the population growth that is sure to come next century."

Pauli criticized "Cal-Fed for taking water away from farmers and communities and idling productive farmland.

"What began as a two-way street among stakeholders to balance the state's water supply between people and the environment more than four years ago, became a dead-end for farmers, farmworkers and all Californians," said Pauli. "Instead of a committed effort to increase water storage, Cal-Fed sees California agriculture as a reservoir from which to siphon water for wildlife and habitat.

 

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