BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Tuesday was a celebration of one of America’s oldest industries, National Farmer's Day. 23ABC spoke with Indian farmers at an almond farm about what being a farmer means to them.
“When we see people enjoying their meal, it makes us happy as well that we are part of their happiness process,” said Simranjit Deol, farmer.
Deol is a local farmer in Kern County, he and his friends said being a farmer is a way of life and runs in their blood.
“Our generations of ancestors, we’ve been doing farming in India. When we came here, we always had in the back of our minds we had to do farming, one way or another,” said Kamaljit Dhillon, farmer.
Here in kern county, agriculture is an important part of our community and our economy. On Tuesday morning, the Kern County Board of Supervisors proclaimed that October would be farmer and farmworker appreciation month. But there’s more to the job that others might not see.
“People don’t know how hard and how difficult this process is. From bare ground, you know you have to develop it, then you have to wait. You know for the almonds to be able to come to your table, it takes three years,” said Deol.
According to the Kern County 2020 crop report, agriculture brought in over 7.5 billion dollars in 2019. Almonds were the top producing crop but now, they’re in third place, behind grapes and citrus.
It’s not just about growing crops and putting food on tables, but the community of Indian farmers in Bakersfield is trying to show their support for the farmers’ protests happening back in India.
“Almost every Indian knows about this movement because it’s big. Almost 100,000 people sitting from last year, November 2020 it’s been a year they are sitting on the road, 100,000 people,” said Dhillon.
Community members gather at the Riverwalk on Stockdale Highway and Buena Vista to show their support for the farmers protesting the Indian government trying to pass legislation that would take farmland away from small farmers and put large corporations in charge of production.
“You know, we are doing protest over here in Bakersfield on the River run park from almost ten months. You know, every weekend we are there. we are there to make people aware of what’s going on with the farmers,” said Deol.
To the farmers here, what they do matters, and it means a lot to them to be able to make a difference.
“We, as far as the farmers, we feel proud because we create something from nothing on an empty ground and we start producing almonds or other crops. We feel proud that we can help grow food and food is a necessity, so we feel really proud,” said Dhillon.