A few weeks ago, we wrote a post about Gold Dust & Walker Farms’ participation in Shut Down & Fed Up’s tractor rally, the Convoy For Change. In the post, we mentioned one of the goals for the rally was to get the attention of Trump Administration to start pushing for a solution that not only saves our Klamath Basin farms, but also helps the suckers and salmon recover.
Last week on July 9th, the Klamath Basin was visited by Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation, Brenda Burman. Thanks to our House Representative Greg Walden showing having a meeting on Air Force One where he shared a photo of the rally with President Trump, he also met with Bernhardt. That visit and discussion of the Shut Down & Fed Up tractor rally helped prompt the visit.
Two of our farm’s leaders, Tricia Hill and Lexi Crawford, had the opportunity to meet with Bernhardt and Burman. Being the KWUA president, Tricia attended a meeting he held with local ag leaders as well as attend his talk at the Shut Down & Fed Up field of crosses. Lexi made it to the field as well as one of the organizers of Shut Down & Fed Up.
The atmosphere at the field was filled with energy and hope. Yes, it was hot and the slightest breeze would kick up the dirt, but getting the opportunity to meet two of American ag’s top officials is exciting. Secretary Bernhardt and Commissioner Burman navigated through the crowd, talking to the people who had the privilege of being there.
Among the visitors was the Scala family, whose field the crosses and flags were planted in. He also gave a challenge coin to Scott Sues’s children, Spencer and Charlotte. Going through the crowed, Bernhardt and Burman heard stories of family farms going under, fields being fallowed due to lack of water. They also heard words of thanks and appreciation for coming to the Klamath Basin, seeing some of the effects first and saying they were going to help find a solution.
One of the more memorable moments was when Commissioner Burman asked to have a photo with all the women that were there. From a girl to women who work in many different aspects of agriculture, they crowded around Burman and Bernhardt while the photogs in the crowd eagerly snapped photos. We also got a special picture with Commissioner Burman with Lexi and Tricia. As you recall, Tricia is the first women president of KWUA and Lexi is the first woman to sit on the Oregon Potato Commission. And Brenda Burman is the first woman Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation. To see all the women who work in Klamath Basin ag in one group, and then to get a photo of three women who are the firsts in their organizations, was unforgettable.
No promises were made that day. Secretary Bernhardt didn’t have any immediate thoughts for solutions and admitted he didn’t want to tip his hand until he knew he had a fix that would help our farms and ranches while helping the Tribes with fish. Though the Secretary and his entourage left the field without giving hint to a plan, most were satisfied with the visit. To be heard, and to know the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Reclamation are going to try and help us find a solution, is great step in the right direction for Klamath Basin ag and all of our communities that depend on it.
Thank you very much, Secretary Bernhardt and Commissioner Burman! We appreciate the visit and the help.