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Fall is here and with its arrival our farmers are harvesting nuts, olives, and cotton along with many other commodities. Agriculture is busy and so is Tulare County.
I have been working with our County Ag Commissioner, County Counsel, and the CAO to address the abandoned citrus orchards located in the County. I have seen this has become more of an issue as a result of the recent drought.
Citrus has a long history with Tulare County dating back to the late 1800s. According to the Ag Commissioner’s annual crop report, Tulare County has over a 132,000 acres of citrus with a production value of approximately $1.2 Billion in 2016.
Abandoned citrus orchards are not only an eye-sore, but the more important issue is they attract Asian Citrus Psyllids (ACP). These are small bugs about the size of a grain of rice. The ACP is a carrier of a disease that is very difficult to detect, is fatal to citrus trees, and has no known cure. These bugs are not native to North America, but they have arrived and with them is the threat to lose our citrus farms.
This is why it is so important for Tulare County to implement policies that will help to minimize the impact of this bug on our local citrus industry and our local economy.
Agriculture is a big deal for Tulare County. Even if you aren’t directly involved in farming, we have neighbors, friends, and family who are. The businesses we frequent everyday are also supportive of our local farmers.
Another policy the Board is exploring will impact our County’s bottom line is electric generation and efficiency. Staff from General Services has been working on a plan to reduce electric costs throughout our county offices, so we can use our limited budgets to more effectively provide services to the residents of Tulare County.
We know there are opportunities for solar at our many facilities and have even more capabilities to reduce energy consumption through simple equipment upgrades.
One last policy I would like to highlight for this edition of Around Tulare County is the County’s new Property Acquisition process.
The Board of Supervisors recently approved a new process for purchasing property that is more transparent and inclusive to the public than previous procedures.
It is important we provide essential services to our many communities, while at the same time be responsive to the needs of those same communities.
It’s been a great first ten months and I hope to see you all around…Tulare County!