Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District

We inspire and partner with our community to protect the natural resources and agricultural future of our District.


2018 Small Dairy Climate Change Research

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California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) selected a research project titled “Small Dairy Climate Change Research: An economic evaluation of strategies for methane emission reduction effectiveness and appropriateness in small and large California dairies” for a grant award of $213,349. The research team is led by California Dairy Research Foundation in collaboration from University of California, Davis researchers.

This research is authorized by the Budget Act of 2017-18 which appropriated $250,000 to CDFA for small dairy climate change research. The research work will also contribute to the Small Dairy Climate Action Plan which is required by legislative mandate as part of the same budget act in 2017-18 (Item 8570-101-3228 (1) (b)).

The details of the funded project are available here.

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Top Ten Reasons to Reject the House Farm Bill

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1. Helps the big get bigger and rich get richer

Over the last three decades, American agriculture has become increasingly consolidated. As of 2015, a majority of our food (51 percent) came from farms with over $1 million in annual sales – up 20 percent since 1991. Federal policy has historically contributed to this consolidation – as well as to the homogeneity and inequity caused by consolidation – by directing disproportionate resources toward the largest and wealthiest agribusiness operations. Sadly, the House Agriculture Committee’s draft farm bill chooses to expand access to unlimited subsidies for mega-farms instead of acting as a champion for America’s small-medium scale, beginning, and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.

The bill includes a litany of bonuses for mega-farms, but perhaps the most egregious is the attempt to throw out a 30-year old rule preventing corporations from receiving unlimited commodity payments. Lucrative loopholes in the bill for the largest, wealthiest agribusiness operations would allow:

  • Most corporate farms to receive multiple payments, rather than being limited to a single payment under a single payment cap, which is currently the case.
  • Mega-farms to more easily reorganize as “family farms,” thereby increasing farm subsidy payments to a single farm by hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
  • Unlimited subsidies and no accountability to taxpayers by removing payment limitations from marketing loan gains and loan deficiency payments.
  • An exemption for partnerships, joint ventures, LLCs, and Subchapter S corporations from the adjusted gross income means-testing provision that makes any person or legal entity with an average adjusted gross income exceeding $900,000 (effectively $1.8 million for many couples) ineligible for commodity or conservation payments.

2. Cripples conservation programs

Healthy soil, clean water, fresh air, and thriving wildlife habitats – these are just some of the many benefits of the farm bill’s voluntary conservation programs. Farmers and ranchers know that conservation practices directly contribute to the long-term sustainability and profitability of their operations, and financial and technical assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) can help them put those practices into action. Voluntary conservation programs like the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) are incredibly popular because they provide producers with the tools and resources they need to be effective stewards.

Continue here.

Source:  National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, April 30, 2018


Nikki Silvestri, “Food Systems, Communities, and You”

Keynote Address of the second-annual We the Future Social Justice Conference, co-hosted by Santa Rosa Junior College and North Bay Organizing Project on April 13, 2018.

Former Executive Director of People’s Grocery in Oakland and Green for All, a national organization advocating for a “green economy” to combat poverty, Nikki Silvestri of Soil and Shadow addresses questions such as: What is our responsibility to the food system in these chaotic political times, when so much environmental progress is at risk? How do we care for our communities as the ecosystem continues to change? Learn about these questions and the path forward as we imagine a future that works for all, and feeds us well.

Recorded in Carole L. Ellis Auditorium, SRJC Petaluma Campus, Friday April 13, 2018, 11:00am – 12:00pm

This event was sponsorship by the SRJC Office of Student Equity, Sonoma Family Meal, and a grant from the Santa Rosa Junior College Foundation Randolph Newman Cultural Enrichment Endowment.


House Ag Committee Passes Farm Bill, Members of Congress Speak Out

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The farm bill is a near trillion dollar, 600-plus page legislative package that governs all aspects of the American food and agriculture system and comes up for debate only once every five or so years. With the current farm bill expiring at the end of September, the farm bill reauthorization process has officially kicked off here in the nation’s capital, and the House is the first out the gate.

On Wednesday, April 18, the House Agriculture Committee “marked-up” and passed Chairman Mike Conaway’s (R-TX) draft farm bill by a vote of 26 to 20 – all Republicans voted to support and all Democrats voted to oppose the bill. And while the Committee was successful in passing its version of the farm bill (albeit on a strict party line vote), there was no real markup nor substantial debate over the policies put forth in the draft bill. The draft bill came out just days before the scheduled markup, it did not go through regular order through markup in the various subcommittees and then on to the full committee, and it went through the full committee in the shortest amount of time ever for a farm bill — hardly a stellar case of democracy in action.

Continue here.

Source:  National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, April 20, 2018