The State Board of Food and Agriculture will meet in Fresno on Wednesday, Oct. 14, to discuss the current and long-term impacts of water shortages. The meeting will be held at the Fresno Farm Bureau Federation, 1274 W. Hedges Ave, Fresno, CA 93728 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“As the 2009 harvest winds down, California’s farmers and consumers must prudently plan for a fourth year of drought in 2010,” said Food and Agriculture Secretary A.G. Kawamura. “The Central Valley is one of the world’s leading market baskets for a wide variety of food that is cheap and safe – if we are to protect our resource, we must assess the drought’s impact and act to ensure continued progress of water management.”

The board will hear from speakers from the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board and conduct a panel discussion on actionable solutions with agricultural farm organizations, water districts and state officials. Public participation and comment is encouraged.

“This board recently met with Australian agricultural and government officials, who waited too long to respond to their 10-year drought,” said Al Montna, president of the California State Board of Food and Agriculture. “Now, the board is returning to Fresno to hear first-hand about California drought impacts on 2009 and 2010. We will use this valuable testimony to reinforce our push for expedited improvements to water transfers and to infrastructure. And for long-term water management, the board will use the stark lessons from Australia to advocate comprehensive supply and quality solutions.”

The California State Board of Food and Agriculture advises the governor and secretary of food and agriculture of findings as they impact agriculture and consumer needs. The board conducts forums that bring together local, state, and federal government officials, agricultural representatives, and citizens to discuss current issues of concern to California agriculture.

All California State Board of Food and Agriculture meetings are open to the media and general public.