Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Thoughts On 2010 California Election

A number of folks have asked my position on a number of races, propositions & measures in California, Siskiyou County and Scott Valley; so here are my personal, "Ag Friendly" recomendations.

Senator - Carly Fiorina

Boxer has been worthless. Period. Carly has pledged to work with Senator Feinstein on the Central Valley Water issues, the Klamath Water issues and understands that smaller government, less onerous regulations and lower taxes stimulate job creation.

Governor - Meg Whitman

Simply put, California cannot afford another term of Brown. Much of the regulatory nightmare we are confronted with today is a result of his previous term. Meg has the complete opposite philosophy and supports growing agriculture in all of its diversity.

Lieutenant Governor - Abel Maldanado

Attorney General - Steve Cooley

State Senate, District 4 - Doug LaMalfa

I have the utmost respect for Doug. He was an outstanding Assemblyman, has a first hand understanding of farming, ranching and the water issues facing our district.

Proposition 19 – No, Would legalize marijauna

Proposition 20 – Yes, Allows Citizens Redistricting Commission to draw congressional districts, not legislature.

Proposition 21 – No, Would impose another new fee

Proposition 22 – Yes, Prevents state from borrowing or taking funds from local government

Proposition 23 – Yes, Will suspend AB 32

Proposition 24 – No, Would repeal Business tax credits

Proposition 25 – No, Would change budget vote from 2/3 to majority

Proposition 26 – Yes, Increases vote requirement from simple majority to 2/3 to impose fees, levies and charges & requires voters to approve local fees or charges.

Proposition 27 – No, Would take job of drawing district boundaries from CRC and give it back to the legislature.

Measure G (Klamath Dam Removal) – No, Would support removal of Iron Gate, Copco 1 and Copco 2 dams, eliminating local, green power and put Scott Valley and Shasta Valley farmers and ranchers water rights in jeopardy.

Measure E (School Bond) – No, Would impose unfair taxes on farms and ranches, taxing all property, including equipment and machinery.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Example of Out-Of-Control Government Impacting Animal Welfare

Seven days ago I returned home from attending the NASCAR race in Fontana CA. I was invited by the Furniture Row Racing team to meet with their owner, driver and team to discuss the future plans of the Farm American car and an interactive, educational, traveling van that will be at all of the NASCAR races as well as stop at various locations during off weeks, educating the public about American Agriculture and promoting local farmers and ranchers and their food at each of the venues. I will talk about this more in another post.

Upon returning home, late in the afternoon, the ranch looked to be in good shape. The cattle and horses were all in their respective pastures and looked to be content. The following morning I took a quick drive on the ATV and checked all the critters out before heading to a meeting in Yreka. They looked healthy and happy. I returned that night well after dark for chores. When I awoke on Wednesday morning and glanced out on the fields, I noticed that there was only one field with cows in it, there should have been three, and we were short a few to boot. I also noticed that our stud horse was not in his pasture, but up the lane next to the mares and foals. This was not a good start to the day.

I quickly hopped on the ATV and proceeded down the lane. After returning the stud to his field I proceeded to try and locate the missing cows and calves. Following their trail, through three downed fences, I found most of them in the river bed and realized the irrigation ditch, which they water from, was completely dry. I immediately called my neighbor, who shares the ditch with us to find out if he had a plug in the ditch. The reply was a negative and further, that upon checking the ditch the morning before, it had been flowing full. Something did not seem to be adding up.

After getting the majority of the pairs back into the bottom field, I did a quick splice on the fence to hold them for a bit, returned to the barn and jumped in the truck to go check the ditch at the point of diversion. We have had issue with several pairs of beavers, in the past, and was expecting to see a dam across our ditch. However, when I reached the fish screen, to prevent fish from entering the ditch, I noticed that the screens and brushes had been removed, the flow regulating headgate had been closed and the bypass had been opened.

I proceeded to the point of diversion and discovered that the headgate there had also been closed. I promptly called our watermaster, an employee of the California Department of Water Resources, who acts under the order of the court and enforces our adjudicated water rights. He informed me that neither he nor the other watermaster, had even been in the area for the past week. A call to the California Department of Fish and Game screen shop revealed that they had removed the screens on Tuesday, around noon, without notifying either my neighbor or myself, but “had not touched the headgates.” However, CDFG claimed the ditch was “dry” and that is why they had pulled the screens. Problem, my neighbor had seen the ditch running full Tuesday morning around 9 am and it takes nearly 8 hours for the ditch to “go dry.”

This is the fourth time in five years that the CDFG has pulled the screens and opened the bypass without landowner contact. The previous three times they had also closed the diversion headgate. Something smells real fishy, and it is not fish!

1. Our diversion is an adjudicated water right, with irrigation rights from April 15th through October 15th and livestock watering rights year round.

2. Legally, the only two entities that may adjust the diversion headgate are the landowner and the watermaster, from CDWR.

3. Legally, the CDFG may not trespass, unless in pursuit of a violator, and it may only be a Game Warden.

4. Legally, the CDFG may not touch a privately owned headgate on a diversion.

5. By contract, CDFG must inform the landowner before visiting, repairing, or adjusting any fish screen.

Due to the suspected actions of the CDFG, cattle and horses were left without water for nearly 48 hrs, since it took 18 for the water to reach them again after turning it back on. I had three breeding groups separated that were mixed again on their search for water. I had a bull get injured, four fences destroyed and stud horse cut up. All of this could have been avoided if 1) CDFG had not shut off the diversion; and 2) if CDFG had contacted the landowners about removing the screens, if indeed the ditch had been dry, as they claim.

This is yet another attempt by a government agency to trample private property rights and display their utter disregard for their actions. Government has become too big and too bold. It must stop and must change.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Response to PETA Article in Sacramento Bee

I am writing in response to the opinion piece that was published in your Lifestyle section on October 11, 2010. It is sad that you would publish an article by an animal rights activist that paints every farm, ranch and animal facility with one broad brush of inaccuracy and fallacy. The vast majority of farmers and ranchers treat their animals humanely and respectfully. As a rancher and an active animal welfarist, I would like to share the following thoughts.

First, this is a personal issue for family farmers and ranchers like me. We consider our animals a part of our family and often spend more time caring for our animals than we spend with our families. We make sure our animals have the highest quality food, water and veterinary care; health is paramount. We also do our best to protect our animals from disease, competition, injury and predators.

Second, the writer makes it sound as though these practices are typical. Those of us involved in farming and ranching know that is not so. Without healthy, content animals, farmers and ranchers could not stay in business. We understand the importance of animal care in assuring safe and high-quality meat, milk and eggs for our communities. Some of us personally know our consumers, others do not, but we always make it a priority to ensure that the food we are raising is the best cared for and of the highest quality.

Third, farmers and ranchers are as disgusted as anyone by the abuse alleged in this opinion piece. If people are abusing animals, they should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. One incident of mishandling is one too many. There must be zero tolerance for inhumane animal treatment, period.

There are a lot of dedicated people who specialize in animal care, people like veterinarians, animal scientists and experts on animal well-being. Farmers and ranchers have been actively working with them to create quality-assurance programs that set guidelines for animal handling to eliminate stress, decrease risk of injury (to both animal and human) and ensure the highest quality of animal products for American consumers.

In closing, as a family rancher, I thank you for the opportunity to respond as an individual who depends on ensuring the health and welfare of the livestock I raise to be able to continue to provide a high quality, safe, wholesome and nutritious product.

Farmers and ranchers across the United States are telling their stories through videos, blogging and photos. Consumers can connect with them to see how they care for their animals and raise the safest food possible at Readers may also contact me directly at

Monday, October 4, 2010

#140conf: Building Bridges & Growing Communities

I'm off to the #140conf in LA, filled with excitement and anticipation of the opportunities that await.

Being a part of the #140conf in SFO was an eye opening experience and I am truly grateful for Jeff Pulver (@jeffpulver) inviting both Ray Prock (@RayLinDairy) and myself to also be a part of the Los Angeles event.

Many of my friends and acquaintances within the agriculture community have asked me why I want to travel to LA and participate in a conference filled with "non-aggies."

The answer is simple. Everyone eats and if we in agriculture do not re-connect with our customers, what they eat will not be from here, but imported.

Consumers today are so far removed from the farm and ranch that they have lost a true understanding of how their food, fiber, fuel and shelter are grown.

I believe it is essential for farmers and ranchers to stop relying on others to communicate their with consumers. Yes, it is helpful, but having the actual growers share their personal story is what builds strong bridges and communities of shared understanding.

I look forward to events that have diverse interests in attendance. Agriculture has relied primarily upon industry organizations to spread its message for to long. It is high time for family farmers and ranchers to tell their own story.

Here in LA, I am going to share my story, make new friends, build new bridges and expand the ever growing and caring community of farmers, ranchers and consumers.
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Whitman, Illegals & Desperate Measures

The recent headline of California Governor Candidate Meg Whitman has me fuming.

Why is there no discussion about the employment agency that provided the Whitmans with employee?

Employers often utilize employment agencies or guest worker programs to find employees so they do not have to deal with hassle of background checks.

With the recommendation of an employment agency, copy of a social security card and a drivers license, the Whitmans had no reasonable reason to question the legality of the employee.

Did the Whitmans pay the respective taxes and social security payments based on the provided documentation? Yes.

Did the Whitmans terminate the employee when they discovered the status of her citizenship? Yes.

Unless you have employees and have had to do back ground checks, zip it!

The fact that the employee was recomended, had forged documentation and had resided in California, drawing a paycheck for as long as she did, demonstrates the complete failure of our current immigration system.

I support a strengthened border to eliminate the entry of illegal aliens. It is a National Security matter and the safety of our citizens demands it.

I support a functional and reliable guest worker program. The American economy, especially agriculture, depends on it.

Finally, I honestly believe this story hit the news for one single purpose, political gain through negative publicity, when the other candidate, Gerry Brown, realized that the good folks of California were not buying his bag of goods.

Do not allow this desparate attempt to discredit Meg Whitman influence your opinion. Look at the substance of her position on the issues.

California needs a governor who understands the importance of a healthy and viable agricultural community, can cut spending and not tax and regulate business out of the state.

I have met Meg Whitman. I trust Meg Whitman. I believe Meg Whitman is the only choice for California governor.

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About Me

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Jeff Fowle is a fourth generation family farmer and rancher from Etna, California. He and his wife Erin and son Kyle raise registered Angus cattle, Percheron draft horses, warmbloods, alfalfa and alfalfa-grass hay. They also start and train horses for riding, jumping, and driving. Their family run ranch has incorporated many environmentally beneficial and water efficient technologies and management strategies. Jeff attended college at Colorado State University for two years and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo for four and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science. Following college, he worked in Washington State for a year as a herdsman for BB Cattle Company and then returned to Etna, California in 1995 to own and operate KK Bar Ranch and Siskiyou Percherons. The latter was started by his grandfather, Clarence Dudley, who devoted much of his time to the Percheron Horse Association of America, specifically to developing their youth education program.