The Santa Barbara-based Community Environmental Council has joined the UC Cooperative Extension of Ventura County and the Ventura County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office in the release of a report called “Cultivating Resilience in Ventura County: Protecting Against Agricultural Vulnerabilities and Bouncing Forward After Disaster.”
The county grows more than 30 multimillion dollar crops, predominantly on farms less than 50 acres. Challenges are related to water supply, labor costs, development pressures and new land-use policies, according to a news release from the CEC.
To understand further, the CEC conducted interviews from 15 farms, ranches and other stakeholder organizations.
“We see an urgent and immense opportunity to align strategies for Ventura’s disaster resilience with those that help agriculture both mitigate and adapt to climate change,” said Sigrid Wright, the environmental council’s CEO. “Preparing and responding to disasters will require planning, new and unusual partnerships, additional resources, and a detailed understanding of how disasters play off and compound each other.”
According to the CEC, climate threats can vary from saltwater intrusion to groundwater aquifers, increased wildfire and smoke impacting crops and workers’ health, flood and mudslide threats from increasingly intense downpours, and reduced snowpack, which limits access to surface and groundwater supply.
The CEC invites comments at cec.pub/VenturaQuestionnaire.
Further meetings about the agricultural challenges are set to take place 2021-22 in Ventura County. To see a summary of the report or its complete text, visit cec.pub/VenturaAgResilience.
— Dave Mason