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Friant Water Authority September 13, 2021

Bermad irrigationThe Friant Water Authority held a special board of directors meeting at its Lindsay headquarters and online by Microsoft Teams on Monday, September 13, 2021. This is usually when the executive committee meets but this month that was cancelled and the agenda started in closed session. The items listed a negotiating session with Friant and the US Bureau of Reclamation over the repairs of the Friant Kern Canal and cost sharing agreement. There were also three potential matters of litigation listed.Conterra

The closed session was listed to begin at 9:00am and open session at 10:30am. The agenda states Chairman Cliff Loeffler will announce any reportable action taken in closed session. There will be a public comment period and a discussion/direction on the FKC project update. Then the entire thing adjourns. The estimated time for this is about 10-minutes. We’ll see.

Ag One

In the meantime there are a few other things going on I want to tell you about. I attended last night’s Ag One Foundation BBQ. This is the annual fundraiser for Fresno State’s Jordan College of Agriculture and it was held at the Panoche Creek Packing’s beautiful grounds at Highway 41 and the San Joaquin River. This is one of my favorite events. There must have been 300 people or more. Fresno State’s ag department had a booth of sausage and cheese samples. If you weren’t careful you could fill up before dinner.

There was a California Women for Ag salsa contest. It narrowed down to Sacramento Valley verse San Joaquin Valley. They were both excellent. Sac Valleys’ entry was a fire roasted delight and the SJV offering was traditional picante. I’m proud to tell you Paige GilliganAll Water Rights (you know her from Risk Mitigators) took the prize for the SJV. CWA also had a table of fresh fruits and vegetables for sale; $5 or $10 bags and fill it up with as much as you could carry without tearing the bag.

The event also included raffles, both silent and – I guess you call it out loud auctions. Everything from firepits to firearms were available. The dinner was fresh fruit, salad, pilaf and pork and beef. There was a bar and a few speeches were given. But the real draw, at least for me, was getting to see so many folks in one place. I got to visit with Steve Malanca from My Job Depends on Ag, FSU prof Paul Betancourt and Greg and Karen Musson of Gar Bennett. A lot of other folks too, like farmers Bill and Carol Chandler. I don’t want this to come off like a gossip column but there were a lot of other folks there and I met some new people and now have the pleasure of getting to know them better.

Fresno County Farm Bureau wheel hoss and Chairman of the Fresno Irrigation District board Ryan Jacobsen was the MC. A special mention of Shannon Fast from Ag One – for her to pull off an event like this so flawlessly – I bet she sleeps for a week.

To sum it up, good food, good people and a good cause all came together in a beautiful setting along the San Joaquin River.Technoflo

In October FSU Ag Tech Day is back. On October 29th there will be an opportunity to show off your goods. There is still exhibit space available and you’ll want to be in the mix on this one. It’s another event I’ve enjoyed and I’m glad to see it back. You can email Bill Green; he runs the Education & Pump Testing program at the Center for Irrigation Technology. wgreen@csufresno.edu

The Friant Meeting

I logged on using the MS Teams link and landed on a screen telling me the people in charge are being notified that I’m waiting to join the meeting. Then three times in a row a message popped up telling me I’d been denied access. On the fourth try it didn’t kick me off. It left me on the screen saying the powers have been notified I was waiting to be let in the meeting. Knowing the scheduled start time of 10:30 had come and gone and since there was only an estimated 10-minute open session I tried to get some attention to be let in. But I was too late. I was told later the open session only lasted five-minutes.

After that I listened in on a USDA-NRCS webinar about racial equity and how the administration wants to spend $50 million on farmers from traditionally underserved categories. I did ask if this was based on race or gender and was told no. There was a lot of talk about urban farmers trying to grow two or three acres of food in an empty lot. There was also a contingent of folks from the San Joaquin Valley representing Hmong farmers. So, that was good to hear.

Well, that’s about it for the Friant Water Authority’s executive committee meeting that was cancelled and replaced by a special board of directors meeting that lasted five minutes out in the open. All I can say is go Zoom.

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854 N. Harvard Ave., Lindsay, CA 93247, Office 559/562-6305 Email: information@friantwater.org www.friantwater.org

The Friant Water Authority is a Joint Powers Agreement with 17 districts to operate and maintain the Friant Division of the Central Valley Water Project. Water from the San Joaquin River is diverted at Friant Dam at Millerton Lake to the Madera/Chowchilla Canal to the north and the Friant/Kern Canal to the south. More than one million acres of mostly family farms and numerous communities get their surface supplies from the Friant Division.

Staff: CEO Jason Phillips, COO Doug DeFlitch, CFO Wilson Orvis, Government Affairs & Communication Alexandra Biering, Water Resource Manager Ian Buck-Macleod, Superintendent Chris Hickernell, Chief of External Affairs Johnny Amaral, Director of Technology Christopher Hunter and Attorney Don Davis.

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