The future of the Mother Lode region is growth, says state agriculture and business leader John Kautz.
“It´s going to happen whether we want it to or not,” he told a group of business leaders in Sonora Friday afternoon.
Kautz said the economics of growth is one of the most difficult issues rural areas must face as they decide whether to turn agricultural land over to development.
He says these growth issues are especially difficult for rural regions such as the Mother Lode. Leaders have to plan for, and make sound decisions, about how the area will grow.
Owner of Ironstone Vineyards in Murphys, Kautz says the foothills Gold County will definitely change in the next 5 to 10 years.
“We need to look at our strengths and capitalize on those strengths,” he told community members Friday.
One area of importance for the region is water. Kautz said water is a long term commodity. “Don´t lose it. Water is vital for our communities,” he said.
Kautz warned the business leaders, gathered in Sonora for an Economic Development Company of Tuolumne County membership luncheon, to bring enterprises into the region that raise tax dollars but don´t take away money to support related services.
Areas that regional leaders need to look at and build in order to bring money into the area are agri-tourism and retirement residential communities, he said.
He challenged the leaders to break down barriers between geographic areas and agencies. “We have to work together.”