More than meets the eye

By Jim Morris

The word agriculture may conjure up images of tractors and harvesters, but this only scratches the surface of what I’ve seen and experienced in working with farmers and ranchers for the last 25 years. The drought has led to a lot of coverage on farm water use. To get the full story, it’s important to remember how many people are impacted by agriculture.

Agriculture isn’t just farmers and ranchers. It’s produce managers, pest control advisors and pilots. It’s a full produce aisle at your local supermarket. It’s safe, nutritious and affordable meat and dairy products that are always there when you need them.

Agriculture touches every life every day. We all must eat and we Californians have such abundance to choose from. More than 400 crops are grown here, with California the nation’s leader in food production for more than a half century. The Sacramento Valley is a key part of the equation.

Agriculture is science, technology, innovation, nutrition, technology, and, as this study by Chico State indicates, it also means jobs.

Agriculture has supported aircraft mechanic Allen Whetstone for decades. He works at Farm Air Flying Service in Natomas, where more than 80 percent of their flights are made to plant and nurture Sacramento Valley rice fields.

“Agriculture is very, very big,” Allen told me. “It would take a long time to describe all that it provides. It affects me every day.”

In reality, agriculture affects everyone every day. You may not see a farmer on a regular basis, but the benefits are all around us.

Jim Morris is Communications Manager for the California Rice Commission. Jim has worked in communications for more than 20 years. When he’s not on the job, he enjoys his family, faith, football, outrageous monster stories and running marathons.