May 29th was pretty incredible. And we’re proud to have been a part of an amazing event like the Convoy For Change.
Last Friday, some of our crew met at our shop in Merrill to help decorate cars, pickups, tractors and trucks to join in the convoy. This tractor rally was put on by the Shut Down & Fed Up movement, which is working to find a sustainable solution for farms and fish in the Klamath Basin. Gold Dust & Walker Farms was more than happy to add our vehicles and voices to the protest. We even offered up one of our grain fields just outside of Merrill to give everyone in the rally a place to get ready.
We figured there’s be quite a few people. The leaders of Shut Down & Fed Up said there’s be several hundred participants.
What we saw from the shop’s parking lot told us there was a whole lot more than several hundred. As we worked to get posters and flags hanging from the equipment and vehicle windows painted with phrases in support of Klamath Basin ag, we could see the line for the tractor rally was massive. It went past our shop, and from what we could tell to the Tulelake-Malin junction.
Our vehicles didn’t enter the tractor rally all at once. Rather, we were spread out, slowly making our way to Merrill and then towards Klamath Falls. People lined the streets of Merrill, waving and cheering in support, giving our protest the feel of a parade more than a statement. However, it was a statement – a statement that was nearly 30 miles long!
While some of the tractor rally headed to downtown Klamath Falls (yes, there!), others headed to a field in Midland owned by the Scalas family. In years past this was a productive hay field, but this year, with their water being cut, it was instead a dusty meeting place for the Convoy For Change. At the site nearly 2,000 crosses were planted, each to represent the family farms and ranches that would be affected or die off if water to Klamath Basin ag was shut down, as it was for the Scalas family.
The field was surrounded by an assortment of farm machinery – ranging from large tractors hooked up to potato bulkers to combines and fertilizer spreaders. The convoy slowly filled the field, with all the intersections leading up to it jammed with more rigs. At the field, several leaders from Klamath, Siskiyou and Modoc counties spoke along with Representatives Walden and LaMalfa and other California supervisors. Despite the heat, the traffic and the long procession to get to the field, many met at the field to show support for Klamath Basin ag and the communities affected by farming and ranching.
It was an incredible feeling of awe and camaraderie to be a part of this amazing event. Talking to some of the members of Shut Down & Fed Up, they had to goals for the tractor rally. The first was to bring our community together, which they succeeded in. The second was to get the attention of the Trump Administration to focus on finding a solution that helps not only Klamath ag, but also brings real solutions to preserving the sucker fish in Upper Klamath Lake and the salmon in the Klamath River. We wish them luck in their second goal.
Gold Dust & Walker Farms is proud to support the Shut Down & Fed Up movement. While we’re able to find the ground and water to fulfill our contacts, we know many of our neighbors are not as fortunate. We’d like to thank the organizers of the Convoy For Change tractor rally, including our very own Tricia Hill and Lexi Crawford. We also hope you too will learn more about their cause by visiting their Facebook page or going to ShutDownFedUp.org.