Sunday, March 1, 2009

Emergency declaration shows continuing idea drought

With rain falling in Northern California and more expected through Thursday, it is hard to imaging a worse time for California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to declare a drought emergency and call for mandatory rationing. Yet that's exactly what he did last week in the third year of below-normal precipitation in the Golden State, according to the Reuters international news service . Schwarzenegger warned that as many as 95,000 agricultural jobs could be lost if the lack of rain forces farmers in the state's Central Valley to curtain spring planting. "California faces its third consecutive year of drought and we must prepare for the worst -- a fourth, fifth or even sixth year of drought," Schwarzenegger said in a statement released by his office, adding that recent storms were not enough to repair the problem. Schwarzenegger called on cities to cut consumption by 20 percent and for state agencies to implement a water use reduction plan. But let's review -- this is the third year of drought, not the first, yet state agencies don't have use reduction plans? Why? Because the lately unpopular Republican governor and former action movie star wants to promote dam construction, despite the Western trend toward removing dams to restore wild fisheries. California's smelt and salmon populations have crashed and with it the state's multibillion-dollar fishing industry, because the state government refuses to acquire more access to water from states that have it or limit the use of water by inefficient farming operations. California products more than half of the nation's fruits, vegetables and nuts, and farmers panic when cutbacks in subsidized irrigation water are discussed. But that may be exactly what is necessary until new supplies are arranged or more rainfall is in the forecast.


Texas Cattlewoman said...

The primary reason your fisheries crashed is because game fish such as bass were introduced to California waterways thus destroying the Delta Smelt and Salmon populations. That was the human mistake.

As for reducing water to farmers are you ready for those in the lower economic levels of our country to not be able to buy FOOD. That is the price of turning off the water to farmers. Are you willing to pay out more of your income because water isn't available to farmers in support of food at a reasonable cost to the population? I thought the liberal side is to support the disadvantage in this country. You have just proved to me it is all about keeping the lower economic class in their current state.

I invite you to read this article as obviously you know nothing about the economics of farming.

Yes, it is dated 2007 but it still on the agriculture economics issue holds as true today as it did two years ago.

A holder of a Masters Degree in Agriculture Economics and a owner of a self sustainable cattle ranch.


NatetheGrate said...

Reducing the flow of river water to farms is not the same as "turning off the water to farmers," as you well know. There is a lot of room to maneuver before anything close to that happens, as you also well know. If the crash of the California salmon and Delta smelt populations was due to the introduction of game fish, and you can prove it, there are about five state government commissions that you should contact because they are investigating the crash and have no idea. Everyone here thinks it's due to other environmental factors, such as the diversion of too much fresh water to Central Valley and Southern California farms.

Texas Cattlewoman said...

I love a constructive discussion. Yes, I agree there are a number of factors that cause a decline in a species and at the top of the list is humans. We've diverted water to the Delta, introduced a species of fish that isn't native, salmon farming off the coast are creating havoc with wild populations & destroying habitat, and above all pollution. All created by humans.

If you have five commissions studying this in CA then it needs to be narrowed to one, might save you and other citizens some tax dollars.

As for "turning the water off" I again tell you that is exactly what has been done. Turning the water down doesn't help the farmer or keep jobs. The Law of Diminishing Returns is the reason why a farmer will not plant. At some point all inputs into an agriculture system cause a profit and at the same time too much of an input or lack of input can cause a decrease in profit or no profit at all. Will you work if you don't make money? Neither will the farmer. This is what is happening to the farmer. The most costly input into an agriculture system is labor and now in case of the farmer in the Central Valley water is becoming too expensive. The balance is so small it is better for the farmer not to plant. The other thing you must understand is that the products produced in Agriculture are homozygous. A tomato grown in the Central Valley looks just like the tomatoes grown in the Valley of Texas and South Florida. There is only so much the market will accept as a end price the consumer will pay for that product. If it goes above that price they will stop buying the product. As gas prices went up last year many turned to gardening to keep their cost of food down. Large Food Corps. reduced the size of packaging to keep consumers from not purchasing. And trust me as the main individual who purchases food in our household I would switch from our favorite Kashi Cereal for Oatmeal. So would other consumers. Consumers will either learn to grow the foods they love which are too expensive or give them up. Just remember your lifestyle is a direct result of the American Farmer & Rancher. Your food comes from those like me who do what we do because we love it.

Again the preservation of a fish comes before humans eating? It really isn't that simple according to you? It is to me, as in my adult life I've been at the lower end of the economic scale where I couldn't put food on the table for my family. If your looking from the liberal side, then why are you hurting those in the lower end of the economic scale? In the mean time during a recession of the magnitude we have, why is CA willing to give up just one job when they already can't meet the demands of the cost of social programs? Raise taxes? Their hand is up!