Benny Jefferson, a fifth-generation farmer on 450 acres of Marina, California land, respectfully disagrees when told farmers are not serious about following state standards to maintain water quality.
As part of an effort organized by a coalition of agricultural groups, Jefferson gave a media tour of his farm and pointed out two ponds that earned his father a conservation award when he established them 20 years ago, according to the Mercury News. One of the ponds traps sediment while the second pond filters water. On top of serving his acreage, the ponds also serve 350 surrounding acres, which includes a county landfill.
"Farmers are the last true environmentalists," Jefferson said. "Without our land, we don't have anything. We know that."
He added: "This is being played out all over the valley. Farmers are working to do everything they can."
But officials with the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board disagree and claim this process does not work.
This past November, that board unveiled a draft version of new rules that mandate reducing or eliminating agricultural pollutants. The new rules also outlined programs to monitor progress and the board welcomed feedback in January, which will be used to produce an updated version.
The next board meeting is scheduled for March 17, by which point the updated version might be released.