In the last four years, the bureau has become more issue oriented rather than socially oriented, Cox said.
"The stress level on farmers has really gone up since I started farming in the ‘70s," he said.
Farmers in the Valley face a number of challenges — most related to getting and draining water, Cox said.
He said the three main issues for the Farm Bureau this year are:
· the Imperial Irrigation District's efficiency study, which the bureau pushed for when growers faced billing problems;
· the cost of taking silt and other materials out of farm water runoff as required by the state's Regional Water Quality Control Board;
· the proposed water transfer to San Diego, which may have a negative effect on water available to the Imperial Valley.
Cox said growers in the Valley have to work together on these and other issues such as air pollution and farm labor.
Cox will serve a one-year term. But, he said, historically Farm Bureau officers are re-elected for a second year.
He said he is thankful for the Farm Bureau's previous leadership in executive director Lauren Grizzle and past President George Ray and looks forward to working with new Executive Director Steve Pastor.
>> Staff Writer Laura Mitchell can be reached at 337-3452 or firstname.lastname@example.org