Tulare County Farm Bureau has been overwhelmed with the generosity of the farm community in responding to their ask for help, to support a 100-year-old dairy family defend itself in legal matters related to water quality. Farm Bureau mailed over 1,400 letters out to their membership and supporters, seeking voluntary contributions for a legal defense fund to help Ben Curti and his family fight the City of Corcoran on a lawsuit that has been filed against Curtimade Dairy Inc.
“We knew we had to activate our members and ask for help. This is a lawsuit that could set precedent, and we were very concerned about that lawsuit, and it’s far reaching implications,” stated Tricia Stever Blattler the bureau’s executive director.
“Since the mailing went out in July, we have received an outpouring of support, and donations small and large have come in steadily ever since. We are touched by the personal notes, and letters of support that have been enclosed with donations of all sizes. I know the Curti family will be very honored by the show of financial support in responding to this lawsuit.” Stever Blattler added, “It is disappointing to see the divisiveness within a community because of the actions of the City. There are other avenues of collaboration to work on water quality issues in our Valley, such as the Central Valley Salt and Nitrate Coalition, as well as state funding sources such as SB 200 which provides communities like Corcoran grant funds for safe drinking water projects.”
The City of Corcoran has alleged the Curtimade Dairy has contributed to water quality degradation affecting municipal wells used by the city to deliver water to their residents. The lawsuit is seeking $65 million dollars from the Curtimade Dairy for those alleged violations.
TCFB’s president, John Guthrie added, “The Curti lawsuit concerns us because of what the outcome could mean for a generations old farming family and concurrently what it could mean for any agricultural operation on the valley. Judging by our membership’s enthusiastic response, this lawsuit has really touched a nerve with people.”
The Farm Bureau’s efforts include hosting a non-charitable drawing with prizes donated by local farm businesses. Major donors to the effort: Innovative Ag Services is donating a side of custom cut and wrapped beef, Morris Levin & Sons is donating a firearm as a prize, T I Inc. is donating a helicopter ride and a private donor is donating a brand new freezer for the side of beef. The Ciao Cow Creamery, a Curti family operation, is also donating six months of gelato to fill the freezer for the beef winner.
If you would like to learn more about supporting the dairy, contact TCFB at 559-732-8301, voluntary contributions are being requested, and the Farm Bureau office can give you more details. The opportunity drawing is collecting voluntary donations until September 1.