Free Environmental Impact Report (EIR)/Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Workshop

This Saturday, August 25th, CCHSRA will be hosting a free EIR/EIS workshop open to the first 400 people in Hanford, CA and is open to everyone interested in Fresno, Kings, Kern and Tulare counties.

“The workshop will detail how the EIR/EIS process works along with providing the tools to provide effective comments to the California High-Speed Rail Authority both in person and via mail.” -excerpt from press release

This is a great opportunity to learn more about the EIR/EIS as it pertains to the Fresno-Bakersfield section of the High-Speed Rail.

The Citizens for California High-Speed Rail Accountability is a nonpartisan advocacy group. If you are interested in the high-speed rail, then you should get to know this group.

Please see the press release for more information on the upcoming workshop.

PRESS RELEASE CCHSRA WORKSHOP

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High-Speed Rail, Property Aquisition Workshop

There will be a high-speed rail workshop this Saturday, February 25th, at Kit Carson School in Hanford.

The speakers will be Herman Fitzgerald, an eminent domain trial attorney. And Keith Hopper, an appraiser with expertise in valuation of complex income properties.

For more information see

Acquisition Workshop Flyer-1

While at the World Ag Expo, Newt Gingrich expressed: “I am for high-speed trains that are economically rational. But I am against high-speed trains that become basically just a large tax-payer subsidy, so that a handful of unionized workers have a brief period of feeling good.”

Pretty much sums it up; high-speed rail will be a drain on tax-payers and will ruin Central Valley businesses (and homes.)

Don’t get on the tractor ‘lil Billy

The Department of Labor is proposing changes to what jobs kids can do in agriculture to try to “protect” them. These changes will dictate the types of jobs a kid can do depending on their age and the relationship to the owner of the operation. There are many problems with this proposed rule. First, a young adult will be limited in jobs (aka, learning opportunities) if the farm is owned by anyone other than his/her parents. Second, and probably most important, the government is trying to dictate how to raise your kids.

Briana, of Grimmius Cattle, very graciously offered to share her comments with us that she sent to the DOL. We think she did a great job of explaining why these proposed changes need to be dropped. You can find her at: http://fromheelstoboots.wordpress.com/ or on twitter at: http://twitter.com/grimmiuscattle

To Whom It May Concern:

As a family business, the new proposed rules would greatly affect not only our business, but many agricultural businesses across the country, just like ours.  I do appreciate the Department of Labor for trying to protect the children of this country.  However in this case, the DOL will be doing more to hurt than to help.  Farms have been a family tradition since the beginning.  A father starts a farm and has three sons, who then start their own farms next to their father’s farm.  Those sons have children.  Family farms today are multi-generational.  The basis of a farm is everyone helping everyone – that is the nature of agriculture.  Our nation wants to preserve the family farm because they are scared of giant agricultural businesses taking over, but if these rules come to be, then the family farm has no hope of survival.

In addition to the previously mentioned, our ranch looks at the opportunity for youth to work here during their summer vacation months as a mentorship.  Imagine a fifteen year old boy working alongside of his father or older cousins and uncles.  Instead of meddling with drugs, playing video games all day or spending time with negative influences, he has the opportunity to learn life from respectable older examples.  The youth of America need more positive relationships and opportunities like this.  Why try to take that from them?

I would also like to point out that the largest number of farm-related deaths is in the age range of 16-19 years old, which is not even the age range which the Department of Labor is seeking to protect.  In addition to this, the majority of farm deaths, according to the Centers for Disease and Prevention, 79% of farm injuries among children and adolescents were not due to farm work.  Only 21% of farm injuries were related to work on the farm, but the other 79% were related to play on the farm.

It is true that jobs related to agriculture are more dangerous than a job where someone is sitting in an office all day.  However, working on a farm also instills in people a lot of very valuable qualities.  I surveyed a few people who worked on farms at some point in their lives to find out what they felt they learned from working on a farm and a few of the responses that I received were patience, ingenuity, responsibility, respect, perseverance, teamwork, work ethic, value, empathy and life lessons.  Work related to agriculture may not be easy, but there is a great deal of value to the hard work required from working in agriculture.

So on behalf of my family’s ranch and other agricultural businesses across this nation, I ask you to please reconsider your proposed rules.  I ask you to go back and look into farm-related injuries and deaths, but be sure that your information is coming from a first-party source and not a second or third.  Visit farms and farming communities, but do not get your information from website statistics.  Please do not take such a positive, enriching learning experience away from the children of our country.  And please do not force us to take “family” out of our family farms.

Sincerely,

Briána

Published in: on January 21, 2012 at 4:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Texas Drought: Central Valley Helping

Just in case you haven’t heard, there’s a drought that’s devastated some states this year.  Who cares you say. It doesn’t affect me, you say. Well, we all need to care, because it is affecting countless, people and animals in drought riddled states.  Besides the humanitarian side of helping others, helping them will help all of us because the drought affects food prices all across the US.

Through one of the Central Valley’s great businesses, Sierra Desert Breeders, we heard about an effort in Wisconsin that was collecting donations to help people in Texas and Oklahoma. Of course we needed to learn more, so we contacted Sierra Desert Breeders and Carrie at Waupun Equipment in Wisconsin.

Waupun Equipment Hay Drive Photo courtesy of Carrie Mess

Central Valley Watchdogs: What is the Hay Drive?

Carrie, Waupun Equipment: The Waupun Equipment Hay Drive is the official title of what boils down to people with huge hearts  doing what they can to help those in need. It is Wisconsin farmers donating hay from their fields, companies and people from across the nation donating funds to help pay for trucking and those who so desperately need hay in the drought areas of Oklahoma and Texas getting a little bit of relief.

Central Valley Watchdogs: Who came up with the idea of The Waupun Equipment Hay Drive?

Carrie, Waupun Equipment: About 2 months ago I was at church and prayers for those in the drought area were being said. I felt like I needed to do something and starting thinking about ways I could help.  The idea of sending a load of donated hay came to my mind. On Monday I spoke with the owners of Waupun Equipment hoping they would be willing to make a donation to my efforts. Instead they offered to help me head up the drive and do whatever it took to get the hay we collected south.

Central Valley Watchdogs: What made you decide to take on this big task?

Carrie, Waupun Equipment: My husband would say that I do this because I’m a little crazy…. Honestly I never thought that it would grow to be this big of an undertaking, I am learning as I go about many facets of getting freight shipped and have picked up lots of new lingo. The spark that started this however, was feeling the need to do something to help and knowing that I should use the skills I have been given to help wherever I can. I believe it is each of our responsibilities to use what we have been given to help one another.

Central Valley Watchdogs: What companies have partnered up to help?

Carrie, Waupun Equipment: Waupun Equipment, BobCat Lawn Mowers, Dart Hay Service, Lyle Hull Trucking, Mystic Valley Farms and the wonderful Sierra Desert Breeders of California just to name a few.

Central Valley WatchdogsPlease tell us about Sierra Desert Breeders?

Sierra Desert Breeders: Founded in 2007 in the heart of the Central Valley in Tulare County, Wout Vander Goot and I (Eric Danzeisen) provide unmatched artificial insemination sales and service to dairymen worldwide.  In just 4 years we have come from being the small local company to a global competitor while still maintaining and growing our business right here in the Central Valley.

Central Valley Watchdogs: As a company located in the Central Valley of California, why did you choose to donate?

Sierra Desert Breeders: This hay drive, by Waupun Equipment Service, caught our eye from the very beginning when we saw chatter on different social media outlets.   It was always interesting/encouraging to see people donating funds and hay to other farmers in a big need of help who they never knew.  I kept thinking to myself what a great thing these people in WI are doing for these desperate farmers in the South affected by the severe drought.  Then Carrie Mess sent me an email with a story about a dairyman that really needed help now.  Not only did the drought affect them severely, but the fires destroyed everything else.  I know it is a tough time in the dairy business for everybody, especially in the central valley, but the picture of the fire was really worth a thousand words. We only did a little thing, Carrie and WES are the ones that need all of the credit!  I encourage these farmers to pay forward these donations when they get their feet on the ground and encourage other people all over to help Carrie and WES in their efforts in any way they can.

Central Valley Watchdogs: You mentioned the drive has grown larger than you expected, how much have you raised so far?

Carrie, Waupun Equipment: So far we have about 9 loads of hay donated and around $5,000 in monetary donations. We have more hay being donated every day. Each load of hay costs from $2,000-3,000 to ship.

Central Valley Watchdogs: How can others donate to the Waupun Equipment Hay Drive?

Carrie, Waupun Equipment: Monetary donations can be made via Paypal  (theres a paypal link at: http://waupunequipment.com/haydrive.htm ) or via check to the Waupun Equipment Hay Drive C/O The National Bank of Waupun, 210 East Main St, Waupun WI 53963 Or you can contact them at: WEHayDrive@gmail.com

Also, part of what helps our trucking company keep a lower cost for us is the ability to find freight to haul back to our area. If any companies out in your area have branches in the drought area that need freight shipped via flatbed to the upper Midwest we would greatly appreciate the opportunity to haul those loads.

For more information please visit:

http://waupunequipment.com/haydrive.htm

http://waupunequipment.com/

http://dairycarrie.com/

http://sierradesertbreeders.com/

“We are still just shaking our heads in disbelief about the generosity and efforts you all are putting forth to help us.  We are so thankful to you, the farmers, truckers, and Waupun Equipment for everything.  This hay drive is really making a difference for us.  I would say about 75% of the mother cows in SW Oklahoma and North Texas have been shipped to market and the remaining 25% (us old hard heads) are being fed every bite they eat. Most producers that still have cows have baled some CRP acres that produced a limited amount of poor quality grass hay or have purchased some similar hay.  They are using this as filler and buying protein (cubes, pellets, liquid feed, etc. to try and sustain the cattle’s needs. What makes even a limited amount of your high quality hay so valuable to us is that we can inject it into our feeding regumen periodically to boost the protein and quality of roughage our cows are receiving.  My intentions are to use the “CRP junk” and cubes or pellets every day and then feed a Wisconsin bale every week to ten days as that energy and protein booster……. We are trying to distribute the hay in as fair and honest way as possible. This first load had 54 bales on it, so we divided it among our six closest neighbors with each taking nine bales. If you are able to send more loads, we will just widen the circle to the next six neighbors and so on.”  ~John Dee Butchee – Oklahoma Beef Producer

CA High-Speed Rail EIR/EIS FREE Workshop

Are you interested in the California high-speed rail? Are you over-whelmed by the massive Environmental Impact Report? Then head over to Hanford, California this Thursday and/or Saturday.

 The workshop is intended to:
-Provide an update and summary of the EIR/EIS for the Fresno to Bakersfield Section.
-Describe the process surrounding the EIR/EIS and the project as a whole.
-Prepare landowners and citizens with information on preparing and submitting public comments to the EIR/EIS.

The workshop is being held at Kit Carson School:

http://www.mapquest.com/

The address is: 9895 7th Ave Hanford, California

Press Release for HSR EIR/EIS Workshops

The workshop is being hosted by Citizens for California High Speed Rail Accountability (CCHSRA). Who is CCHSRA? They are a non-profit organization of Kings County residents. They have no affiliation with the California High-Speed Rail Authority.

The workshop is open to all counties, they do ask for an RSVP. Here is their email:  cchsraorg@gmail.com

Be sure to follow them on Facebook and Twitter for the most up to date information on California High-Speed Rail news.

A different take on the High-Speed Rail

 

It is no surprise to those of us that live in the Central Valley that Agriculture is what drives our economy. Consider these facts:

-Agriculture supports 1 in every 10 CA jobs

-In the San Joaquin Valley, 1 in every 5 jobs are directly related to Agriculture

-Fresno County leads the Nation in Agriculture production

-followed by Tulare County

 

The below article was published in The Business Journal:

California Dairy
Industry creates 3% of states jobs

Feb. 8th, 2010    

A study released by the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) highlights the dairy industry’s impact on California’s economy, including the number of jobs and revenue generated from a typical dairy farm in one year.

In 2008, the latest year for which figures are available, California’s largest agriculture commodity was responsible for creating a total of 443,574 jobs and $63 billion in economic activity for the state.

The typical California dairy cow and farm stimulates a positive ripple effect throughout the state, according to the research conducted by J/D/G Consulting Inc., an independent dairy industry research firm based in Florida.

Specifically, a typical dairy farm in California generates $33.1 million in economic activity and 232 jobs in the state, including ‘on-the-farm’ and ‘beyond-the-farm’ jobs like milk tanker drivers, grocery store clerks, feed farmers and employees at milk processing and cheese plants, among others.

When compared to the impact of other notable California industries, the dairy industry provides more economic stimulus and jobs to the state yearly than either the iconic motion picture/television or wine industries. The most recent statistics available for these industries show that the motion picture/television industry contributes $35 billion and 208,230 jobs (2007) and the wine industry provides $59 billion and 330,000 jobs (2008).

“This research offers a perspective on how vital the dairy industry is to California with every dollar from production and sales of California milk contributing to the economy,” said Stan G. Andre, CEO of the CMAB. “In addition to providing one of the four food groups that feeds our local communities, a typical dairy cow generates more than $34,000 in economic activity and a herd of 100 cows creates 25 jobs for California residents each year.”

 

So why did we bring all this up? Because agriculture plays a vital role in not only the Central Valley’s economy but in CA’s economy and we need to remember this.

Because of the importance of agriculture we oppose the high-speed rail cutting through farm land. It runs the risk of destroying businesses; businesses that are already contributing to the San Joaquin Valley’s economy. The High-Speed Rail has yet to be able to show a solid argument that it will generate revenue for the state. Besides all this, the rail authority hasn’t been able to show a) how they will get the money (can’t rely heavily on Feds) to fund this project and b) it doesn’t seem that they’re committed to actually completing the rail.

Until California has a balanced budget and paid off its debts and the Rail Authority can prove that the High-Speed Rail won’t be a drain on the tax-payers it needs to be put on hold. There is no sense destroying businesses that are already generating jobs and revenue for the
state.

 

Here are a few of our resources:

http://www.tulcofb.org/index.php?page=agfacts

http://kcfb.org/ag_facts/

http://www.thebusinessjournal.com/agriculture/3861-california-dairy-industry-creates-3-of-states-jobs-

 

Where does your food come from?

Stores are full of beautiful, ripe, fresh fruit and vegetables. Loaded with delicious, nutritious meats and dairy products. And lets not forget about the wholesome grains. But all of this life-sustaining food doesn’t come from the store; it’s just sold there. Our food comes from hard-working men and women, that get up every day to provide us with this safe, nutritious food.

Since our food doesn’t come from “the store,” why is it that too many people seem to think its ok to choose a teeny fish over pumping necessary water for the crops? Why is it ok to destroy farm ground to build a train that will more than likely cost CA a small fortune and will never be completed? Why is it ok to destroy family businesses for this same train to nowhere? Where will our food come from if the ground is gone? Where will our food come from if regulations get so cumbersome and costly that no one can afford to farm? The US has the safest food supply in the World!

Here are two recent articles worth checking out:

Pacific Legal Foundation is continuing their effort to defend water rights and common sense. Recently they asked the Supreme Court “to hear their constitutional challenge to the federal government’s Delta smelt regulations that have led to devastating water-delivery restrictions through-out two-thirds of California.” -excert from PLF news release

http://www.pacificlegal.org/page.aspx?pid=1612

Fox News visited the Central Valley to interview local dairy families about how the high-speed rail will affect their businesses.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/06/25/high-speed-rail-routed-around-environmental-site-affects-new-group-farms/?test=latestnews

Memorial Day

Picture by Impeach the Idiot

The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them,  glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.  ~Thucydides

What are you doing today? Going to the lake? A bar-b-que? How about a parade? But a 3-day weekend is not the purpose of today. Today we pause to honor and remember those who have sacrificed so much for our freedom. We live in the Greatest Country in the World thanks to them!

God Bless!

Published in: on May 30, 2011 at 9:40 am  Leave a Comment  
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Quit whining and do something about it!

Anyone else sick of hearing Pedro Ramirez play the victim card? Heard him on tv this morning complaining again. First, we would like to congratulate him on getting his degree from CSU Fresno. We would also like to congratulate all of this years graduates!

But, listen buddy, you just graduated from college, so time to quit playing victim and start taking control of your own life. Its no longer your parents fault that you’re here illegally. In fact, it hasn’t been their problem since you turned 18.  Show the rest of us that you really do want to be here and contribute to society.

Sidenote: Did you know that CSUF celebrated its 100th Birthday this year!

Published in: on May 22, 2011 at 10:17 am  Leave a Comment  
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High-Speed Fail

The idea of traveling quickly North to San Francisco to catch a Niners game or South to LA to shop sounds divine! To not have to worry about timing it to avoid sitting in traffic. Not having to worry about if you’ll find a parking spot. Sounds amazing doesn’t it?!

Ask yourself these questions: Do you think the High-Speed Rail is actually going to be built? Do you think the HSR is going to be cheaper to ride versus driving? Even with todays high gas prices. How much will tax-payers have to subsidize the cost of a ticket? How over budget will it be? How much farm land, businesses and homes will be destroyed? How much time will it actually take to get to San Francisco or LA? How much money has already been wasted? How many people will actually ride the High-Speed Rail?

Anyone else find it odd that it runs through a certain someones district?! When the plan was originally to go along the 99? Why can’t they decide on a route?

California can not afford to build the High-Speed Fail right now! The Central Valley can not afford to have good farm land tore up. Especially if its going to be just some unused tracks dividing land. Maybe, one day when our state has a balanced budget with money in the reserve. AND the Federal government has a balanced budget. But, right now is not the time to build this. Lets follow the other states who have scrapped their high-speed rail plans and get back to basics.

Published in: on May 21, 2011 at 9:27 pm  Leave a Comment  
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