Last month, the federal government announced that the production of food and fiber in the nation’s number one agricultural state and the highest producing agricultural counties are no longer important. Two agencies, the Bureau of Reclamation and the National Marine Fisheries Service have determined they can’t create a solution that allows an affordable food supply to be the strength of this nation.
They tie themselves up in knots relative to “what if” scenarios while trying to convey a desire to create a solution when in fact their solution has been and continues to be zero. Over a million acre feet of water was added to storage since the Armageddon announcement earlier this year, and yet not one drop can be made available to senior water right holders thereby forcing the Eastside of the San Joaquin Valley to go dry?
As managers they are woefully inadequate to be a positive influence inasmuch they have repeatedly allowed water to be released or not captured in the past several months that could have lessened the extensive nature of this drought. They made the decisions to lose water; they made the decisions to keep water; and they made the decisions that negatively impact thousands of people all the while occupying an office hundreds or thousands of miles away from the impact center.
Ronald Reagan was right: “Government is the problem.” Now, will the state and the Brown Administration allow the federal government to create a food, fiber and economic disaster in this state and thus follow the leadership model perfected by two federal agencies? Or will they and our elected officials not allow bureaucracies to do nothing and subsequently provide a solution path that undoes this unprecedented decision? Former President Dwight Eisenhower was also correct when he stated it is real easy to farm when you are thousands of miles away from the property, which for a bureaucrat is piece of paper and their plow is a pencil.
This has to be one of the more ridiculous statements and decision ever made by any administration.
Joel Nelsen is the CEO/president of California Citrus Mutual, based in Exeter.