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Agriculture’s Response in a Crisis

Santa Rosa, Calif., (November 30, 2017) – Monday, October 9th marked the beginning of the worst firestorm in California history. As parts of Sonoma County were devastated by wildfires, our agriculture community stepped up to protect livestock and property.

There are many accounts of this, including SCFB board members Doug and Jennifer Beretta moving cattle from Sonoma Mountain to Farm Bureau member Andrea Krout and staff member Emily Janowski moving horses out of Rincon Valley directly in the fire’s path at 5 a.m. Monday morning.

In Geyserville, Farm Bureau member Kevin Barr of Redwood Empire Vineyard Management brought out the fire truck he and his wife Linda own on their Summer Wind Vineyard to personally fight the fire.

Kevin Barr fights fire in Geyserville with his personal fire truck. Photo courtesy of Linda Barr
Kevin Barr fights fire in Geyserville with his personal fire truck. Photo courtesy of Linda Barr

Sonoma County agriculture played a significant role in helping to protect Sonoma County, and many ag operations helped stop the progression of the fire. The photo of the hillside where cattle grazed next to the fire damaged grass land demonstrates how agriculture created defensible space.

Vineyards have been touted as natural fire breaks and helped stop the fire’s progression in many areas. Hillsides around the county are black right up to the edge of a vineyard, and this was seen on all three fires in the county. Sonoma County residents should appreciate the positive aspects when a vineyard is planted next door to them.

Sonoma County agriculture is amazing and steps up when and where it is needed. Sonoma County Farm Bureau is at the forefront of this effort setting up the Agriculture and Rural Lands Resource Town Hall meeting,the partnership with the Sonoma County Winegrowers Foundation to support ag employees and Farm Bureau’s leadership and coordination to provide feed to horse and livestock operations that lost pasture land or were displaced.

Over the course of the last month, neighbors from near and far all asked the same question: how can we help? Now more than ever, it is important to support Sonoma County agriculture and the work Farm Bureau does in Sonoma County as well as the state and national level. Agriculture is critical to Sonoma County and Farm Bureau is always in your corner fighting for your rights and providing the needed resources. This is a time to continue to support ag by being a member of Farm Bureau or encouraging your neighbors to join. For more information on membership visit sonomafb.org.

Fire Burns to the edge of a vineyard in Santa Rosa serving as a natural fire break
Grazed pasture land serves as a natural fire break. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Larson UCCE

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