Voice: Imperial Valley better without agriculture? Think again

January 28, 2002

Over the past few years I have read with astonishment and disgust the opinions published in the Imperial Valley Press.

Are you people serious? Do you really want the agriculture industry to leave the Imperial Valley? I can't believe the attitudes and beliefs of certain people and boards in this Valley. Please recall that agriculture is the No. 1 industry in this county. Today our own state doesn't support agriculture, and now the county I live and work in doesn't support agriculture. I'm sure there is a little town in Arizona that would love to have all the farmers from Imperial County relocate and put their money in their economy.

It seems the elected officials of our state and county, as well as a majority of the community, couldn't care less if we all packed up and moved. I just don't understand the thinking.

It seems as if there is a community against agriculture movement, but believe me, there is no agriculture versus community movement. We live in the community. We have family and friends here. We support anything that will benefit our community.


Please remember, there is no community in the Imperial Valley without agriculture. The people of Imperial County need to work together. Talk to people around this county and many say, "Have you been to Yuma lately?" The town across the river has grown and prospered while it seems we have been left in the Dark Ages. I wonder, is there a correlation between agriculture and growth in Yuma?

Please take a drive down Gila Ridge Road and notice the amount of agriculture growth in Yuma. Two new coolers were built just this year. Many acres of produce have moved from Imperial County to Yuma.

There are many reasons behind this. Let me pass on a few important items: Arizona supports agriculture much more than California does and the community of Yuma supports agriculture much more than the community here. Yuma is united. The community and the agriculture industry share many of the same goals and dreams.

River Ranch Fresh Foods in El Centro, employs close to 1,000 people during the winter. Should we ask them to move to Yuma like everybody else has? I don't think so! We need a representative from Imperial County in Salinas to recoup our losses from the past 20 years.

If we could have kept just a handful of salad producers in Imperial County the number of jobs created would be 2,500 to 5,000! Those numbers do not even include the jobs that would be created "on the ranch." Indirect employment numbers would be noticeably higher as well.

If you don't want farmers on the Imperial Irrigation District board or the Board of Supervisors, that's fine, but we need people who support agriculture. I feel we don't have those people, and that is a major reason why this county has not grown and prospered.

After all the ridiculous letters, where was the support for agriculture? Why can't our Board of Supervisors and IID board be the "bigger people" and stand up and say, "We support agriculture!" Oops, I forgot, it's all about the votes.

Well, boards, I believe you are smarter than that. You need to unite everybody. You understand that we need agriculture. So, why can't you stand up and educate people?

I really hope the things that at times come out of your mouth aren't really what you believe but are for votes. I can't fathom you believing we would be better off without agriculture. Don't bury us with finger-pointing. Take the high road. Are you really for the betterment of Imperial County or your own personal interests to hold office?

El Centro versus Brawley, Calexico versus El Centro, Holtville versus Imperial; Sure, for high school sports it's great, but it isn't good for community growth. How about Imperial County for Imperial County? That translates into Imperial County for agriculture and industry!



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