Reader Sara Sunstein misunderstands some fundamentals of our local economy and the role that local independent businesses play when they export their Humboldt Made products ("Mailbox," Feb. 25).
We have been raising beef cattle in Humboldt County for over 150 years, and the vast majority has been exported into the commodity market. Eel River Organic Grassfed Beef is not adding more cattle to the land. He is converting existing ranches to organic standards and their product to a value-added market. Since Eel River Organic beef is processed locally, he is stimulating new jobs here as he adds value to the product before it is exported. Lastly, making our ranchland economically valuable through grassfed beef relieves the economic pressure to convert it to other uses, maintaining forests and the open vistas we all enjoy.
While there are efficiencies to be gained through further localization, particularly in the areas of food and energy production, no economy can survive entirely on locally produced goods and services. Imports and exports play a vital role in a healthy economy.
Our innovative local businesses not only give us delicious, wholesome products, they also have a disproportionately positive effect on our economy. When they export their products to customers elsewhere, they import capital and compete for employees, thereby increasing productivity, adding jobs and driving up wages in the local economy.
Jacqueline Debets, Humboldt County Economic Development