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Posted on February 3 at 11:19 a.m.
This opinion perpetuates myths, distorts reality, and seeks to persuade through blatant falsehoods. Farmers and urban water users alike are suffering through California's drought. Agriculture is the first to be cut when water is short- last year that resulted in the loss of more than 17,000 jobs and $2 billion in impacts to rural communities that depend on farming to sustain them.
While Krieger perpetuates the myth of powerful, corporate agri-business in California, the simple reality is, according to the USDA, more than 95% of California's farms are family-owned. The specter of calculating businessmen manipulating water for their benefit at the cost of everyone is good fiction, but that's all it is. She restates the myth that farmers act without concern for what the people want- when in fact they produce the food and fiber that the people demand. California's skillful farmers beneficially match the many different climates and fertile soils that allow our state to produce more than 300 different crops. Farmers must grow what the markets demand, at the risk of losing their farms and homes if they did otherwise.
Almonds produce jobs, help improve our state's GDP, representing approximately 25% of agricultural exports, provides 15% of our gross agricultural production value, and sustains rural communities in the face of rising production costs. Almonds do all this, yet they only consume about 9-10% of our agricultural applied water use, and are grown on only approximately 9-10% of our state's irrigated fields. The value produced doesn't end there; instead it is reinvested in the rural communities and farms of California.
California is one of the most innovative, efficient producers of food in the world. Our state leads the nation in agricultural productivity, and our successes improving food cultivation benefit the entire world. Efficiency improving technologies and techniques designed for California are adopted the world over, feeding the growing global population with less environmental impact than a generation ago would have even thought possible.
Mike WadeCalifornia Farm Water Coalition
On Drought and the Almond