Aug. 8 2018 10:55 AM

Mismanagement and misinformation has led to devastating forest fires in the Golden State.

It is no secret that the politics in California are a joke. For decades, California’s politics have haunted the agricultural community, but over the past few years we have been able to watch its policies go up in a literal cloud of smoke.

Most recently, California has made headlines for its spectacular forest fires. These fires have devastated hundreds of thousands of acres per year, destroying land, animals, homes, and human lives. These fires burn so hot and so furious that a state of emergency is normally implemented once a year in order to somewhat contain the hellacious devastation caused by the fire.

Normally people saw these fires as bad luck and poor fortune, but recently the population has become wise to the facts. These fires could have been prevented. The agricultural community has begged the state to prevent such devastation, but the California leaders have turned a deaf ear.

Today, we sit in an ashtray. The smell of smoke is unescapable, the headaches from smoke inhalation unavoidable. We are currently living in one of the most unhealthy air conditions in our history due to mismanaged, misguided, and misinformed leaders.

For decades we have watched the forests and cropland shrivel up due to lack of water, yet we have witnessed the rapid current of water leading out to the ocean and the big cities. We have had the opportunity to watch as the dead trees lay rotting when eager loggers could have removed those. We have had the misfortune of watching California create this bed of fire while actively ignoring the agricultural community who was begging to help change this inevitable outcome.

This past week an article was released by Fresno’s ABC 30 News Station which stated that, “Breathing the air in Fresno . . . was like smoking 8.4 cigarettes.” And in Oakhurst, a community closer to the fire, it was predicted to have an air quality equivalent to smoking 24 cigarettes. In my hometown of Tulare, 100 miles south of Oakhurst, we held a 7.2 cigarette air quality equivalent. The article goes on to mention that if anyone plans to work outside, it should be done with a smoke-rated respirator.

I have two young boys and a newborn girl breathing this air. I have elderly family members who already have a hard time breathing on a good day. I personally am not a fan of the eye irritation and chest pains. We do not know if there are any long-term health effects due to the long-term smoke inhalation. Only time will tell.

My prayer is that these fires will open the eyes of our policymakers. California is literally burning around them. Lord, help them see that.

Tyler Ribeiro

Tyler Ribeiro is a fourth-generation dairy farmer born and raised in California. He is currently partners with his father at Rib-Arrow Dairy in Tulare where they proudly ship their milk to Land O’Lakes. Tyler is actively involved in the dairy industry, holding leadership roles in various organizations locally and across the United States.

Join us on August 13, 2018, for our webinar "What's different about Jerseys . . . and what's not" presented by Mike Hutjens, University of Illinois

Sponsored by Custom Dairy Performance / KTG North America

Hutjens will discuss guidelines and opportunities for Jersey herds based on the results of a thorough study of the top cheese yielding Jersey herds in the country. The impact of herd size, milk yield, use of BST, and mixed breed versus Jersey-only farms will be evaluated.

Register here for all webinars.