Thursday, October 15, 2009

Should I ask Harris Ranch for a donation?

Harris Ranch is threatening to withdraw a $500,000 donation from Cal Poly because they are upset over a speaking invitation to Michael Pollan and some of the views of their faculty.

Although the Michael Pollan complaint is getting headlines, this second complaint in the long letter from the Harris Ranch CEO to the Cal Poly President got my attention too.

My second issue is of still greater concern, and has provided me with both displeasure and outright anger towards the university. In a recent (09/14/09) phone conversation Mike Smith had with Rob Rutherford in the Animal Science Department, ... Mr. Rutherford then had the audacity to offer Mike an entirely unsolicited opinion that water should have NEVER been provided to farmers on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley. As Harris Ranch operates one of the largest farms in this region, Mr. Rutherford implies that Harris Ranch should not be farming! He went on to offer that this acreage should be converted back to the native forages once found there.

I think whether water should have ever been provided to west side farmers like Harris Ranch is an interesting academic question. Maybe their donation can fund a study and panel discussion that takes up that question.

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