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January 17, 2021

Farmer survey aims for complete picture of climate change’s impact on agriculture

WATSONVILLE—Two years ago Regeneracíon-Pajaro Valley Climate Action gathered data on the impact climate change has had on agricultural workers and the Pajaro Valley community at large.

Now, the nonprofit is trying to form a more complete representation of the agriculture-rich region.

Regeneracíon is asking farmers in the Pajaro Valley to participate in a survey about how changing weather patterns are affecting their crops.

The bilingual survey is available both online and in-person. The former can be found at regenerationpajarovalley.org, and takes about 20 minutes to complete. The latter is a roughly 45-minute endeavor that can be scheduled by contacting Regeneracíon Executive Director Nancy Faulstich at [email protected].

The online survey is anonymous.

“We want to engage with farmers and growers throughout the region to know what they’re going through,” Faulstich said. “We think it’s important to work with everyone in agriculture—the backbone of this community—on solutions that will help everyone.”

Faulstich said she hopes the survey will serve as a baseline for the region that can be used in future studies on the impact of climate change. The survey asks farmers if they have made changes in the crops they plant and if they are concerned about the sustainability of their business, among other things.

“I want to stress that there are no right or wrong answers,” Faulstich said. “Farmers might say they are not seeing drastic changes and that’s OK.”

The survey is part of the Regeneracíon’s Heat Stress Prevention Campaign, which is partially funded through the California Environmental Protection Agency’s Small Environmental Justice Grants program. Regeneracíon will also develop a brochure of how people can protect themselves from heat exhaustion during brutal manual labor—commonplace for farm workers during the peak of the summer season—and will host a forum in November on the findings of the survey.

This year’s survey is the organization’s second since being founded in 2016. The first shone a light on how climate change—especially warmer summer and fall weather—is disproportionately affecting the poorest of the poor in the Pajaro Valley.

For that work, former Mayor Francisco “Paco” Estrada selected Regeneracíon to lead last year’s Spirit of Watsonville Fourth of July parade.

More recently, Regeneracíon was named one of 34 semifinalists for ecoAmerica’s 2020 American Climate Leadership Awards. Ten finalists will be invited out to Washington D.C. for a two-day symposium in late-March and will also be awarded a $10,000 grant. The winner and runner-up will be awarded grants of $50,000 and $25,000, respectively.

Tony Nuñez
Tony Nuñez
Managing Editor Tony Nuñez is a longtime member of the Watsonville community who served as Sports Editor for five years before entering his current role in 2019. A Watsonville High, Cabrillo College and San Jose State University alumnus, he covers the city, business, housing, entertainment and more.

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