The Punjabi American Groups Group USA is organizing a protest at the State Capitol in Sacramento at 8am, Wednesday October 26th . Organizer and PAGGUSA founder Jasbir Sidhu said the situation for California farmers is becoming dire. While the state is involved with a High Speed Rail line to nowhere, imposing critical race theory on water rights while hoarding billions of Prop One dollars for what is getting closer to a decade wait time some growers have just had enough.
“Farmers are suffering from real issues,” said Sidhu. “This is California. We know there will be droughts. What did the government do to prepare? They gave us the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act which appears to have the main job of bankrupting farms. What the state has done is divide us.”
Sidhu said there is a bank of speakers being assembled to participate in the protest by telling their stories. “There is a lot of hardship taking place, a lot of stories that need to be heard.” So far State Senator Melissa Hurtado has agreed to speak. “She’s a true fighter for our farms in the Valley,” said Sidhu.
Sidhu continued, “We realize the legislature is not in session at the moment but we have a message for Governor Gavin Newsom. We want him to talk about his water policies to save farms, save family businesses and save our communities.”
PAGGUSA was formed in September 2020 as a way for the Sikh/Punjabi community to organize and share knowledge of best management practices, grant eligibility and helping the next generation to take over the farming operations. The 501C organization works with Fresno State University and the University of California Cooperative Extension. The Natural Resources Conservation Service approached PAGGUSA requesting help to connect with the Sikh community and the organization is growing with almost 100,000 members.
Sidhu said Punjabi growers farm more than 700,000 acres in California and they all are feeling the pinch at the pumps and lack of surface water deliveries. He also said they all vote because the way California mismanages its water supplies are not only harming farmers, it is also negatively impacting all business including trucking and stores. Sidhu said there is concern in his community about corporations taking over family farms and what will happen to the nation’s food security.
PAGGUSA is concerned about taking one to one and half million acres of the world’s most productive farmland out of operation and the impact this will have on the Valley’s businesses and communities, which are all dependent on agriculture for their economic wellbeing. “This is a government without the visions to solve our water problems,” said Sidhu.
For more information about the protest and sign up as a speak contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 831/406-0393.
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