SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — The California State Fair bills itself as the “17 Best Days of Summer,” including its signature food. But it’s not just deep fried delicacies that are getting props this year, it’s also farm fresh fare. Supporters of California’s $53 billion agriculture industry – including Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) – are being recognized too.
PG&E was inducted into the California Agricultural Heritage Club today at the California State Fair in Sacramento. The Heritage Club is a prestigious group of families and businesses dedicated to preserving agriculture’s heritage, as well as moving the industry forward. PG&E is one of 18 businesses, farms and ranches being inducted this year and is the sole recipient recognized for more than 150 years of support.
“Since our beginnings in 1852 as the first gas utility in the west, PG&E has shared the pioneering spirit of California’s farmers and ranchers. We appreciate the value of agriculture to our daily lives, and to our local, regional, state and national economies. We look forward to continuing our work with our local agricultural customers for another 150 years, and helping this vital industry thrive,” said Deb Affonsa, vice president of customer service for PG&E.
“Reliable, affordable energy supplies are vitally important to farmers and ranchers and, because PG&E’s extensive infrastructure passes over and under farms and ranches, PG&E operations are closely linked to agriculture,” said Karen Norene Mills, associate counsel and director of public utilities for the California Farm Bureau Federation. “Farm Bureau looks forward to PG&E’s ongoing dedication to the state’s agricultural resources as an important segment of its customer base, a vital link in its ability to operate its system, and a key component of the state’s economy and environment.”
Agriculture and food processing help drive the state’s economy, at the same time they can be very energy-intensive. PG&E has a range of energy efficiency programs and incentives to help agricultural customers reduce their water and energy usage, and therefore reduce their costs. Over the past five years, PG&E has helped its large agriculture and food processing customers reduce energy usage by approximately 37 million kilowatt hours and 17 million therms, and provided $17 million in rebates to encourage energy efficiency changes.
The company introduced new programs and incentives to help farmers and ranchers weather the ongoing drought, and created an Agriculture Task Force and customer advisory groups to deal directly with customers on issues that matter most to them.
PG&E is also sponsoring a scholarship through the Friends of the California State Fair Scholarship Program, which supports high school seniors and college students pursuing careers in areas including agriculture, business and viticulture.
The California Agricultural Heritage Club Induction Ceremony was held at the Clubhouse at the Cal Expo Grandstand during a breakfast this morning. (Submitted by PG&E).