FWA Summer Intern Point of View by Macey Cox
Growing up in the small town of Arbuckle, surrounded by rural communities, it has always been clear that agriculture is important. Competing in rodeos throughout the state since the age of seven has only bettered my perception of the ranch life and what it entails. During my time at Pierce High School, I had the opportunity to further expand my knowledge of agriculture as well as advocate for it through parliamentary procedure, FFA conferences, chapter offices, and our county fair. My time spent in the Future Farmers of America program and the California High School Rodeo Association has helped deepen my understanding of not only where our food comes from, but how it gets to our plates. I realized that agriculture isn’t just about producing food; it is a business that deals with everything from the clothes we wear to the environment that surrounds us and most importantly it gives our people jobs.
Thanks to my involvement throughout high school, I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to intern here at Family Water Alliance. Just when I thought I knew something about agriculture, my eyes were opened to a whole other level! My summer has been filled with new information about the regulations that exist in order to protect our environment as well as the amount of money and permits needed to complete even the simplest of tasks. I have sat in on many different meetings including Rotary’s weekly gatherings, monthly re-zoning meetings for Colusa County, and flood control meetings in Sacramento. I was even able to attend a hearing at the State Capitol!
However, my experience wasn’t limited to the office and meeting rooms. I have viewed around ten different fish screen sites throughout the local counties as well as several levees, bypasses and weirs. I visited a nearby dairy to snag a photo for the newsletter and was lucky enough to go on a tour of the new rice mill here in Maxwell. I have studied many different ag-related issues such as the dispute over Assembly Bill 32, eminent domain on houses, mortgages and utilities, the Coastal Commission’s fight to keep the coast just how they want it, and the famous Bay Delta Conservation Plan.
Not only have I researched various issues, but I also had the chance to write two articles for the last Family Water Alliance newsletter. The opportunity sharpened my research and writing skills and helped better prepare me for college. In addition, one of the articles was about the Farm Bill, specific to the dairy industry. This was extremely beneficial to me considering I will be attending college this fall to major in Dairy Science. Having no background in the dairy business whatsoever is a little intimidating, but what I have learned of it over these past couple of months have given me the confidence to take on the challenge.
In September I will start my college career at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo as a Dairy Science major while competing on the college rodeo team. I plan to take the pre-veterinary track while also opening myself up the production side of the dairy industry. In four years, I hope to graduate from Cal Poly and attend vet school to become a large animal veterinarian. I feel that my background around animals has prepared me well for a career in this field and I am excited to begin my next chapter. Thanks to this internship opportunity and the people here at Family Water Alliance I have gained an immense amount of knowledge regarding agriculture, the policies that come with it, and the government’s involvement. I have a whole new respect for the amount of work that farmers and ranchers put into their enterprises and I am ready to take on college with a full understanding of this amazing industry!
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