A proposed northern California anti-ag measure could have an effect nationwide. The measure in Sonoma County would eliminate animal agriculture in that county.
“It would outlaw all animal agriculture in the county. That would affect dairies that would affect poultry operations,” said Director of Political Affairs with the California Farm Bureau, Steven Fenaroli, who explained those are two of the biggest animal ag industries in the county.
The measure titled “Prohibition on Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations” is backed by an animal rights extremist group, which has already collected more than 18,000 signatures toward putting the measure on the ballot. It has until March to collect the remaining two thousand verified signatures needed. The trajectory shows it will go to the voters, and Fenaroli says that’s something that the agriculture industry around the nation should keep a watchful eye on.
“A lot of the country, I think, begrudgingly looks to California and they kind of say, ‘Oh gosh, California, what are they doing now?’ But I think this thing has national implications. If a group can qualify a measure and they can outlaw animal agriculture in a county, that sets up a recipe, a playbook, for them to repeat that not only throughout the state but throughout the country,” Fenaroli said.
He said when political attacks like this come up, it’s important for the ag industry to gather the troops and fight back.
“And I do think that we’re kind of seeing that right now. The Sonoma County issue about animal ag has a lot of implications,” Fenaroli said. “I think that we saw from the results of Prop. 12 and some of the pork stuff that there were some times where we weren’t as active as I think we could be. And when I say “we” I mean all of ag. So, how are we going to mobilize and how are we going to have a voice?” Fenaroli encourages farmers around the country to speak up because California is often a starting point for anti-ag movements that spread around the nation.
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National Correspondent / AgNet Media, Inc.
Sabrina Halvorson is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster, and public speaker who specializes in agriculture. She primarily reports on legislative issues and hosts The AgNet Weekly podcast. Sabrina is a native of California’s agriculture-rich Central Valley.