California farm to idle 2/3 of crop ground

A representative of California-based Harris Ranch, one of the largest agribusiness entities in the western U.S., says they will be forced to idle two-thirds of their 17-thousand acres of farm ground this year due to a lack of water.

Michael Smith testified this week before a House Agriculture subcommittee in Washington.

“In my home state of California, we’re suffering through one of the worst droughts in recorded history,” Smith said. “Make no mistake, however, this drought is made even worse by the actions taken by federal and state governments to restrict the rightful allocation of water to farmers and cattle producers throughout California—especially those in the Central Valley, a region of the state that grows well over half of the fruits and vegetables in this country.”

The issue, Smith says, is the Delta smelt, a three-inch bait fish.  He says its listing as an endangered species has “profoundly impacted” water delivery in the state.

“As a net result, this year’s zero—to possibly five percent—allocation of water will result in Harris Farms fallowing over 11-thousand acres of some of the most highly productive crop ground in the United States.”

Smith says they would normally grow tomatoes, onions, melons and other fruits and vegetables on that ground.

In March, A California appeals court sided with environmentalists over farmers and upheld federal guidelines that limit water diversions to protect the Delta smelt.

AUDIO: Excerpt from Michael Smith’s testimony (3:30 MP3)


© Copyright 2014 Brownfield, All rights Reserved. Written For: Brownfield

Comments

  1. M Covault says:

    The federal government has no common sense sometimes, and caters to minority interests instead of working for the public good. The Endangered Species Act is run by bureaucrats who are easily intimidated and influenced by those who actually feel like humans are a scourge on the face of the earth. California’s water scarcity is not only because of drought, but also a direct result of federal regulations which would rather protect a bait fish (Delta smelt) than help provide water to the millions of residents and agricultural concerns. There should be a balance, but that’s not the way it works with the extreme environmentalists who pick animals over humans. Too bad the federal government doesn’t protect its citizens the way it protects a bait fish.

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