When I was the Agricultural Commissioner I had a conversation with a supposedly educated person about the importance of agriculture in El Dorado County. He told me we didn’t need agriculture because he could buy his food at Safeway. This sounds like the logic that some candidates who are running for the EID board use such as Greg Prada.
The impact of El Dorado County agriculture on our economy is more than a half a billion dollars. These are small family farms unlike the agribusiness we find in the valley. If we were to lose the agricultural industry it would be a major blow to our economy.
Agriculture improves not only our economy but also our quality of life by providing open space. If we did not have agriculture Apple Hill and other agricultural areas would be divided into one acre parcels with more houses and traffic. Traffic levels on Highway 50 would balloon through Placerville with commuters traveling twice a day, year-round, impacting commutes through El Dorado Hills to Sacramento. More homes would also require more government services and more roads to be built. We don’t have the funds to maintain even our present roads, so how we are going to maintain more roads?
Greg Prada and his acquaintances have proposed that EID increase the price of agricultural water 1,500%. El Dorado County farmers are small businesses that are competing against growers throughout the state. El Dorado County farmers are already paying more for their water than other farmers in California. Our farmers could not compete if they had to pay 15 times their current rate and would have to stop farming. And with their property not producing any income land owners would be forced to sell their land to developers. Is that what you want?
This EID election is critical to the future of our county. I urge you to vote for Pat Dwyer in Division 2 and Dr. Dale Coco in Division 4. They are both committed to maintaining our rural quality of life and fair and equitable rates for all classes of customers.
Yes we need agriculture.
Where would Safeway get its produce if it weren’t for farmers?
Bill Snodgrass, Retired El Dorado County Agricultural Commissioner