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Our Opinion: New ag ways

May 01, 2001

That agriculture is struggling in the Imperial Valley is no secret. Our farmers need new and better crops, new and better markets and new and better forms of marketing if they are to survive and prosper in these dire times.

Many ideas for new and better ways to do things in agriculture were presented at the inaugural AgroBaja conference staged last week a few miles south of Mexicali. A total of 190 exhibitors were showing their wares and showcasing their ideas at the event. Those involved in agriculture who did not attend missed out, not only on a fun and interesting expo but on new opportunities to do better business.

Opportunities were illuminated in areas such as solar and manure power, low-flow irrigation systems, beekeeping, quail-egg raising and the ostrich meat business. While some of those ideas may seem exotic and quixotic, a couple generations ago people probably wouldn't have imagined Imperial County would have a thriving fish farming sector.

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AgroBaja was organized by Mexican agricultural officials, but they are willing to consider bringing the event to the Imperial Valley next year, which we think is a wonderful idea. Anything on this side of the border will draw more of our ag folks to see innovations is something we support. And anything on this side of the border will expose those with products and ideas to what we have to offer in our bountiful Imperial Valley.

It is important that we work with the folks from Mexicali in almost every area of our shared existence. We essentially live in one Valley, one earthquake zone, one immigration zone, one air pollution zone, one agricultural zone. We no doubt can coordinate with each other to have a more productive and inclusive agricultural area.

Some of our farmers farm on both sides of the border, and have found some crops are better grown over here and others over there. They have found they have to be amenable to doing things differently in Mexico. Being inflexible doesn't work there.

More and more that is the case in ag on this side of the border. Events such as AgroBaja reveal a whole new world of agriculture. We need to see that world.

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