Tag Archives: Secession

With California in Crisis Due to Drought, Some Want to Solve It By Seceding

Check out the New York Times article about two Californias:

“Those Hollywood types don’t have any idea what’s going on out here on the farms,” said Mr. Rogers, a retired dairyman from Visalia, the county seat in a Central Valley region where cows far outnumber people…

“They think fish are more important than people, that pigs are treated mean and chickens should run loose,” said Mr. Rogers… “City people just don’t know what it takes to get food on their table.”

Now, I agree that the “Hollywood-types” I saw in Beverly Hills who were watering their lawns with scarce water on a rainy day are pretty darn clueless when it comes to farming, but the CA secessionist quoted here said Prop 2 was his last straw. That was the proposition that passed last November to ban some of the cruelest livestock practices used on chickens, pigs, and veal.

As for me? I’m no Hollywood-type. I’m from Wisconsin. I hang out with farmers. And I think that pigs are treated mean and chickens should run loose. So do the farmers I hang out with, and those farmers are pretty confident that they are producing superior chickens, eggs, and pork because of it. And the Central Valley – the area these secessionists call the “real” California? It’s polluted like nobody’s business due to all of the agricultural chemicals. As a consumer, I don’t want that on my food but I also don’t want to force farmers to raise their children in that environment!

Rather far down the article, they present the other side:

Some farmers are also suspicious of the political direction in Sacramento, the state capital. In January the Senate Agriculture Committee was renamed the Food and Agriculture Committee, signaling a broader, more consumer-oriented approach to agricultural policy. The committee’s chairman, State Senator Dean Florez, Democrat of Fresno, finds the secession effort emblematic of larger tensions between food consumers and producers.

“Rather than split California, come sit at the table with consumers,” Mr. Florez said. “The agricultural industry is in this mode that says, ‘You will eat what’s put in front of you,’ and that’s a very condescending view of consumers and eaters. If customers are changing their preferences, the industry needs to change its ways.”

Food and animal rights activists here agree with Mr. Florez. “It’s unfair to say consumers don’t care about farmers,” said Rebecca Spector of the Center for Food Safety. “With the increase in food-borne illnesses, all eaters, both urban and rural, have the right to demand food that is grown in a safe and healthy way.”

I’m just shaking my head. I don’t see this effort going anywhere, but I was waiting for news of people getting pissed off with the new (wonderful!) direction the Senate Food and Agriculture Committee is taking under the leadership of Florez.