Category Archives: Agriculture

March 25, 2016

Farmer: Obama Lied to Me About Water, Drought

A Central Valley farmer with whom President Obama met and posed for photo-ops in 2014 is slamming the White House’s new water plan, saying he was misled about Obama’s intention to listen to farmers’ demands for water.

“I did have a sense of hope and he could have helped us,” Joel Del Bosque told local ABC News affiliate KFSN 30. “My focus was just telling him what we do we grow food for the country and we can’t do it without water.”

Instead, however, President Obama’s eight-page “executive action” plan on water, released Tuesday, says nothing at all about increasing farmers’ access to water. Instead, it calls for data collection, communication by federal agencies, new research, and papers — in other words, more bureaucratic activity, rather than more water storage or water allocations.

In observance of World Water Day on Tuesday, the White House convened what was billed as a “first-of-its-kind” summit on water. The meeting, which the Fresno Bee reports was attended by California Democrats including Rep. Jerry McNerney and Rep. Jared Huffman, focused on water conservation — but did not address the fact that the federal government prioritizes the endangered delta smelt fish over the needs of farmers, often flushing out hundreds of thousands of acre-feet to sea.

California’s Republicans, who back a water bill that is stuck in the U.S. Senate, did not attend.

[…]

Complete text linked here.

December 24, 2015

Saudi Hay Farm In Arizona Tests State’s Supply Of Groundwater

The idea that another country would come and essentially export your water via crops just wasn’t really around 30, 40 years ago. And so the laws that are in place are really inadequate for dealing with this new trend.

Outside of Phoenix, in the scorching Arizona desert, sits a farm that Saudi Arabia’s largest dairy uses to make hay for cows back home.

That dairy company, named Almarai, bought the farm last year and has planted thousands of acres of groundwater-guzzling alfalfa to make that hay. Saudi Arabia can’t grow its own hay anymore because those crops drained its own ancient aquifer.

Reporter Nathan Halverson tells NPR’s Renee Montagne that Almarai bought about 15 square miles in the Arizona desert.

“They got about 15 water wells when they purchased the property. Now, each one of those wells can pump about 1.5 billion gallons of water. It’s an incredible amount of water they’re going to be drawing up from that aquifer underground,” Halverson says.

The land in question had previously been under cultivation for corn, cotton and other crops, including smaller amounts of alfalfa for hay, he tells The Salt. Halverson’s sources told him that the farm is now consuming significantly more water, since alfalfa is a particularly thirsty crop.

[…]

Complete text linked here.

April 14, 2015

The Next Crime Wave in Farm Country: Stealing Water

The Madera County Task Force also plans to educate farmers about the best kinds of fences and tank enclosures to keep out water thieves.

Madera County sits smack in the middle of the state, and it’s mostly farms. As in many parts of the Valley, wells have gone dry here and water prices have soared. Thieves, who’ve been increasingly targeting rural farms, are starting to understand that anything water-related is a potential bonanza.

“They’re taking the water hoses, taking the copper wiring,” says the county’s District Attorney, David Linn. “We’ve even had instances where they’ve come in and stolen the water pumps from the farmers.”

Linn has recently launched a new task force so rural residents and farmers can reach a deputy district attorney 24-7 to report crime, including illegal well drilling.

Linn says a hypothetical call might be, “You know over the past two weeks, the water flow on my kitchen sink has continued to decrease. I notice there’s a couple of big drill rigs across the road, looks like they’re very active.”

An investigator could come out and talk with the well driller to make sure they’re drilling where they should be.

[…]

Complete text linked here.

April 3, 2015

California drought: Why farmers are ‘exporting water’ to China

While historic winter storms have battered much of the US, California is suffering its worst drought on record. So why is America’s most valuable farming state using billions of gallons of water to grow hay – specifically alfalfa – which is then shipped to China?

The reservoirs of California are just a fraction of capacity amid the worst drought in the state’s history.

“This should be like Eden right now,” farmer John Dofflemyer says, looking out over a brutally dry, brown valley as his remaining cows feed on the hay he’s had to buy in to keep them healthy.

In the dried-up fields of California’s Central Valley, farmers like Dofflemyer are selling their cattle. Others have to choose which crops get the scarce irrigation water and which will wither.

“These dry times, this drought, has a far-reaching impact well beyond California,” he said as the cattle fell in line behind his small tractor following the single hay bale on the back.

“We have never seen anything like this before – it’s new ground for everybody.”

California is the biggest agricultural state in the US – half the nation’s fruit and vegetables are grown here.

Farmers are calling for urgent help, people in cities are being told to conserve water and the governor is warning of record drought.

But at the other end of the state the water is flowing as the sprinklers are making it rain in at least one part of southern California.

The farmers are making hay while the year-round sun shines, and they are exporting cattle-feed to China.

[…]

Complete text linked here.

March 27, 2015

Mexican farmworkers strike as millions of dollars worth of crops rot (Video)

“If the fields continue without a workforce, the harvests will be lost and that will affect everyone who depends on this part of the economy,” Baja California Gov. Francisco Vega’s office said in a statement.

More than 50,000 Mexican farmworkers are striking in Baja California, violently demonstrating against low pay, abuses and poor working conditions. As millions of dollars worth of crops rot in the fields, protest leaders are set to meet with growers.

Farmworkers are burning tires and throwing rocks in Baja, an agricultural border state that supplies millions of dollars worth of tomatoes, strawberries and other produce to the US. Hundreds of protesters have blocked the Transpeninsular Highway, the main north-south highway, on and off as the strike has spread across the state, the Associated Press reported.

Demonstrators are demanding healthcare, overtime pay, days off, water, breaks, an end to arbitrary firings and abuse ? especially sexual abuse ? by field bosses, and for wages to be raised to about $20 a day. Currently, most farmworkers earn $8-10 for a full day of labor spent stooped over the crops in hot-house farms.

[…]

Complete text linked here.

March 16, 2015

California’s Man-Made Drought

The green war against San Joaquin Valley farmers.

California has a new endangered species on its hands in the San Joaquin Valley—farmers. Thanks to environmental regulations designed to protect the likes of the three-inch long delta smelt, one of America’s premier agricultural regions is suffering in a drought made worse by federal regulations.

The state’s water emergency is unfolding thanks to the latest mishandling of the Endangered Species Act. Last December, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued what is known as a “biological opinion” imposing water reductions on the San Joaquin Valley and environs to safeguard the federally protected hypomesus transpacificus, a.k.a., the delta smelt. As a result, tens of billions of gallons of water from mountains east and north of Sacramento have been channelled away from farmers and into the ocean, leaving hundreds of thousands of acres of arable land fallow or scorched.

For this, Californians can thank the usual environmental suspects, er, lawyers. Last year’s government ruling was the result of a 2006 lawsuit filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council and other outfits objecting to increased water pumping in the smelt vicinity. In June, things got even dustier when the National Marine Fisheries Service concluded that local salmon and steelhead also needed to be defended from the valley’s water pumps. Those additional restrictions will begin to effect pumping operations next year.

[…]

Complete text linked here.

April 15, 2014

Bundy Neighbor Already Kicked Off His Land Talks of BLM Abuse (Video)

There used to be 53 ranchers in the area of southern Nevada which is now the scene of the Bundy standoff. David Knight of Infowars.com interviews Richard Jensen, one of those who was previously in the ranching business but forced to cease his operations by the BLM.

He gives great insight into the methods of BLM, their possible motives and the health of the Desert Tortoise under government mismanagement.

He also interviews Piute County Utah Commissioner Darin Bushman who describes a similar pattern of abuse which is in a more initial stage of encroachment and abuse. They share similar concerns and recognize that they are being targeted in a similar fashion, and joining forces with the Bundys and their supporters to defeat the tyranny that is facing them.

Mr. Bushman is interviewed in the video below:

[…]

Complete text linked here.


March 10, 2014

Report: Nonprofits ‘Gaming the System’ for Farm Subsidies that Never Reach Farms

Some nonprofit organizations whose stated purposes have nothing to do with farming have enjoyed hundreds of thousands of dollars in farm subsidies over the past ten years, according to a FoxNews.com report.

They include:

1. The Three Year Economic Saving Program, which supervises Muhammad farms, is owned by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. The farm is located in Georgia, but the government subsidies, nearly $160,000, have gone to Farrakhan’s home in Chicago since 2002. The program, which was incorporated on Sept. 12, 2001, has been listed as “Not in Good Standing” by Illinois’s secretary of state since last September. The Office of the Illinois Secretary of State said the program was “involuntarily” dissolved by the State of Illinois on Feb. 1.

The Illinois Attorney General Office said it has no record of the program’s ever being a charity. Adam Andrzejewski, founder of OpenTheBooks.com, asked, “’Not in good standing’ doesn’t seem to trouble the Cincinnati office of the IRS. Why is Farrakhan’s charity allowed to receive federal money? This is no longer about farm policy, it’s merely a transfer mechanism from one set of Americans who pay taxes to another set who know how to game the system.”

The Muhammad Farms website states that donors to the program can make “tax deductible contributions” to the Three Year Economic Saving Program. However, neither Muhammad Farms, the Nation of Islam, nor the Three Year Program have a listing on the IRS’s public database of 990 forms, the forms that can testify that the program or company has true nonprofit tax-exempt status. The Three Year program may be evading filing such forms by claiming it is a religious program, which would make it exempt. The Freedom of Information Act states that nonprofits are required to show their 990 forms for the past three years if requested, but the Nation of Islam would not return phone calls when the forms were requested.

[…]

Complete text linked here.


January 24, 2014

Ranchers fed up with destruction illegals leave behind

‘Sometimes it’s Border Patrol that crash and do damage’

Illegal immigration is forcing a rancher to move his livestock away from a property along the Rio Grande.

Jose Cavazos said it’s become nearly impossible to maintain his fences. He said immigrants damage them when they flee from Border Patrol agents.

Cavazos isn’t the only rancher dealing with the destruction.

Damaged fences lead to stray cattle, ranchers said.

“They completely destroyed the fence. I had to move (the livestock) to another 76 acres,” Cavazos said.

Cavazos lives along the Rio Grande, just south of Mission.

Cavazos said Border Patrol boats force illegal immigrants onto his property. He said it costs him thousands of dollars to fix the damage.

[…]

Complete text linked here.


January 21, 2014

What Congress Did While You Were Talking About the State of the Union

The “farm bill” passed by the House yesterday has projected costs that are even greater than those of the Obama stimulus, and about 80 percent of the bill is just food stamps.

Congress is very fond of two things: throwing a bunch of stuff into one bill and rushing bills through while Americans are focused on other news. While people were talking about the State of the Union, they’ve done it again with the $1 trillion farm bill.

The “farm bill” passed by the House yesterday has projected costs that are even greater than those of the Obama stimulus, and about 80 percent of the bill is just food stamps.

The bill is filled with special handouts to agriculture special interests and is a model of central planning. When it comes to food stamps, the bill is just as bad.

Food stamps should go to those truly in need. So it may surprise you to learn that you can qualify for food stamps even if you have millions in the bank. The new farm bill does nothing to address this absurd loophole.

A loophole like this undermines the legitimacy of the program and certainly does nothing to help people who really need help.

[…]

Complete text linked here.