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Works and Days

California’s Hydromania

July 6th, 2014 - 7:40 pm

Why exactly is farmland so insanely priced, when canal water is nonexistent and the water table is dropping several feet each month — as tens of thousands of farmers tap their savings to deepen their wells to grab what they can of the shrinking aquifer?

The answer is complex. One, the growth of India, China, Southeast Asia and the Pacific as consumers of California specialty crops coincides with steady inflation here at home in the price of food. In such a perfect storm, farming has never been more lucrative. It is almost as if the more regulations, taxes, and rules that are put on farming, the more food becomes precious.

Prices to almond growers have reached $3 and more a pound. Some mature nut varieties  bring $8,000 to $10,000 in profits per acre. As farmers swarm to plant crops like almonds or pistachios, they abandon old marginally profitable produce like grapes and stone fruit — and such reductions in those acreages have likewise revitalized the fresh and dried fruit markets. In a word, price-wise everything in California is now good, and water-wise everything is lousy — with one weird caveat. Let me elaborate a bit more on the underground contours that frame the reaction to the drought.

The old hydrologists and geologists warned us that annual snowmelts run off the Sierra granite, on past the clay foothill soil, and seep into a huge sandy loam aquifer from about ten miles to forty miles distant. But quite precipitously that aquifer plunges as one heads each mile westward to the Coast Range, so much so that out by Highway 33 to I-5, it is not uncommon to hunt for brackish water at 1500 feet and more.

In other words, without the water projects’ deliveries of surface irrigation water from Northern California, the multibillion-dollar vast West Side — excellent soils, brilliantly engineered canal systems, a font of agribusiness genius — is threatened with abject extinction. I grew up hunting with my father out on the pre-water project “West Side.” shooting jack rabbits and ground squirrels among the parched salt flats, tumbleweeds, and brambles that offered marginal cattle raising lands at best.

If we cut the surface water to the West Side or simply don’t have it, the verdant bread basket of the nation returns to desert — and with it are lost billions of dollars in export earnings, thousands of jobs, tens of billions in spin-off economic commerce, and assurances of affordable food, from cotton and lettuce to pistachios and tomatoes.

As millions of these acres remain threatened, a desperate agribusiness looks eastward, to the well-watered loams far closer to the Sierra. Here, in towns like Reedley, Selma, Fowler, Fresno and Madera, the aquifer is, for a while longer, close to the surface. It has been replenished by snow runoff for centuries, and canal water recharge ponds for over 100 years.

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Top Rated Comments   
As a historian, Dr. Hanson, you should be familiar with this, and not amazed. History does not repeat - but it certainly imitates itself.

The demise of the small farm families; the rise of the great latifundi, worked by foreign slaves, for the benefit of the noble elites living in the far distant city built of marble, interested only in placating the mobs of the uneducated, violent, and irresponsible city dwellers.

Very familiar story, indeed.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Water, water everywhere
And not a drop to farm
Obama here, Obama there
You can keep your farm, Obama swears

Water, water everywhere
But not a drop I felt
If only I was loved as much
As the useless delta smelt

Water, water everywhere
But not a drop to drink
We see how much Obamacares
As he drives us to the brink
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
All 'isms' of the left, to one degree or another, reject critical aspects of reality. Those who follow that path come only to grief. The fatal flaw of all representative democracies is they utterly rely upon the aggregate of their citizen's common sense. The left's many long decades of indoctrination in the schools and through the media has born its fruit and by that fruit, we know them.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (41)
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Governor Brown Rot, pardon me Governor Brown understands that California is Mexifornia. Without water California was once Mexico? When the farmer has no water he is pushed out by high speed trains. The Maddening war in California has and will cause a maddening trek out of the state of those who wish not to be trampled by Brown's Mexifornia or Obama's America. The Governor of "La Raza," is Governor Brown. Illegals breed money for the welfare state and without water the farmer and the migrant worker is out of work.....Politics as usual in Mexifornia......
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
Mid summer in Kingsburg, CA shows Swedish Women are more prone to take action than
Barack Obama in
the Middle East

By

J.W. Carter
Columnist

for

C.F.P. I

Copyright 2014

“Agent Orange Dioxin Kills in Combating the Socialist Regime”



Location Kingsburg, CA


Kingsburg, CA has been my personal escape and get away from the terrors of “Mexifornia,” and “Indiafornia,” of my hometown for over fifteen years. Both Hispanics and Indians are drawn to the central valley do to the over population of Mexico and India, to many of these foreign invaders go undocumented. The community of Kingsburg and it village is not only darling and takes pride in itself but it also the home of the toughest minded discipline of all valley cities in the San Joaquin Valley. I admire the Swedish creativity and intellect. Something should also be said of the Asian-American farmers and others who are composed within the community that make this town my favorite get away.

My writings on the “Hanson Memorial,” in the park with the permission of Victor Davis Hanson, the Savior General of Americanism, have been controversial since I believe that memorial marker should have been larger. Much more needed facts enshrined for the reader written on the Hanson Estate. I did not wish to complete the project I embarked on due to historical authority on the subject, Dr. Hanson, but I was honored that he allowed me to opportunity to conduct a research project in more depth. For the more gifted historian who approaches the Hanson Estate, I hope he or she holds and writes a more detailed chronological marker for the patron, and is able to write side by side more detail with the Hanson family and those who visits the peaceful park. The memorial itself and those in park serve as a cultural enrichment for the onlooker.

Coffee might very well be the glue that holds Swedish society together, and I have enjoyed it with my friends who are in their 70s; while I am in my late 30s. I have enjoyed my trips for coffee with Olsons and others who have kept the community in such good standing and am sad that I must embark on a trip out of California to find work in Obama’s America.

As a poverty line small organic farmer who is jobless educator and writer thanks to the policies of Barack Obama and the liberal governor Jerry Brown, I have found, that myself, and many in the community, are not just “country bumpkins.” The Swedish Organic farmer and the Hanson intellect, have left their mark on the community. The community like much of valley is being invaded by the illegal. I

In the community I try not to be so British as a Scholar of Winston Churchill and having British blood. Sweden is the only country where you see Nazis trying to help the environment but you see illegal Hispanics and Indians driving west to my hometown of Caruthers, CA, after trying to destroy Kingsburg and Selma with the usual trashing of agriculture. Labor is a mess and illegal labor even messier.

My hope is the President Barack Obama and his supporters would be ousted from a community like Kingsburg, since they know and can decipher a fascist, an illegal and a Muslim when they see one. The Obama myth is coming to close mid summer, he is proving to be a do nothing President. Agriculture in Kingsburg, Selma and Caruthers must be kept out of town unless it is done by the farmer, or the Hispanic laborer who cleans up after themselves. The Republican nominee in 2016 needs to be a strong leader, like those in Arizona, a leader who secures our borders and a Republican must emerge and practice the policy of “super-patriotism,” and super-Americanism.”

Swedes are neither- stupid or naïve but our Presidential leadership has been. In ten years this was the first year that I missed the Swedish Festival where I always enjoy the sights and beauty of the community, along with interviewing the World War II, Korea or Vietnam Veteran that is honored by the community. While sick and 100 pounds over weight thanks to what I endured at the hands of Mexican control and might of corrupt school board I was inspired by Dr. Hanson ride in the Festival, while on a cane I sat down on the grass turned around and saw the monument for the first time. At that point I was enriched and moved by the history of Victor Davis Hanson while volunteering and polishing his memorial marker at the Fresno Veterans Memorial with Hiro Igosawa.

Conflict I was told by a good friend while eating at the Dala Horse occurred when a gifted female artist painted several murals on bakery building back wall. The owner painted over the artistry due to what she believed to be aggravated assault on her property. Although both women exchanged colorful words they have done more than President Obama this Mid summer in actually throwing Swedish Meatballs at one another, or in this case the Festival paint terrorist.

The liberty of press is a subject of greatest importance and without freedom of thought t
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Income equality, liberal style: Make everyone poor.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Dr. Hanson, you have fought the good fight. But it is time to realize that the dominant politics and culture of California is no longer American but a combination of TWANLOC and Mexican. It is, for all intents and purposes, no longer part of our country. It is time for you, and the rest of the minority of Californians who value America, to escape to America. After the collapse that is ordained by the Gods of the Copybook Headings, after Darwin catches up to both TWANLOC and the Mexican invaders [those who come to take over the territory, not the ones we want who desire to become Americans]; then maybe our children and grandchildren can redeem what once was ours.

Subotai Bahadur
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
It looks like this year's rainy El Nino isn't going to happen after all. The water in the Pacific is already starting to cool. Looks like the drought will continue.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
The family farm has always been the quintessential symbol of self-reliance. It is no wonder that this iconic image of social order should be despised and ruled obsolete and not worthy of support and protection by our socialist lemming concept of society. Liberals love Jefferson but apparently forget that he loved the idea of the self-reliant land-owning yeoman. If I understand Jefferson accurately, this was his vision of freedom. If only government existed to protect the rights and efforts of those who ask only to beneficially steward the patch of God's earth they have sought to make their home.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
The problems in California have mostly been brought about by Californians themselves. Decisions made at the highest levels of state government for the benefit of few wealthy politicians and/or landowners with almost no thought to the future of the state; millions of illegal residents collecting billions of tax payer dollars in entitlement without contributing a single thing to the economy except perhaps for more crime and more drugs. California has made it's own bed; now they find that lying in the bed they made isn't so much fun and have been trying to import their insane philosophies to other states. I live in a border state to California and I don't want any more California inmates moving here. Stay home.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
We left California in January, 2014. The only issue I take with your comment is the last three sentences. We did not move to bring California's "philosophy" here, we moved here because we love the values and philosophies of the people in our new home state (not a border state to California) and don't want to change ANYTHING!
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, the "kennys" will tell you that no matter how conservative you may have been while you were here, you became a loony San Francisco liberal the moment you crossed the state line.

I suppose we did "bring it on ourselves"... by allowing at least a million northeastern liberals to migrate here in the 1960s and 1970s... Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Boxer being prime examples.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
The nice thing about where we moved, they fully understand why we came and so far, have welcomed us with open arms.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm a fifth generation Californian, and for almost 150 years my family has lived in the Valley. My great great grandfather had stone fruit orchards and wheat fields in Solano County, my great grandfather more wheat fields up near Maxwell. I grew up in Stockton, and now live in Brentwood less than half a mile from fields of it's famous sweet white corn.

My grandfather left the farm to get into the trucking business, and my father followed suit, owning a dealership with branches from Sacramento down to Modesto. When we were kids our lives revolved around what was happening in the fields and we were as aware of what was being harvested as kids who lived on the farms. Every May we'd hold our breath that it wouldn't rain on the cherries, and every May we'd have at least one storm.

California used to be all about agriculture. When I had my first job at the local shopping mall our boss used to bring in extra people when it rained, because that's when the farmers would come to town. Now most people have no idea what's happening in the Valley. Fortunately, our community is doing better than most because we have several large organic farms here who are the darlings of the SF foodies, but what's happening to large areas of the valley is a crime.

My upbringing has more in common with a kid from Nebraska than with kids who grew up less than 100 miles from me. Our lives were very midwestern, tied to the land and to a sense of community we no longer have. Now the valley towns have become havens for Mexican cartels, and large parts look like slums in a third world country.

The lefties on the coast look down on us as they always have, but now they have the power. It used to be that the farmers had some sway with the legislature, but not anymore. When the Delta Smelt is allowed to turn fertile farmland to dust, it's obvious that the pendulum has swung too far to the left. Of course, while San Franciscans drain Hetch-Hetchy, the valley struggles to get enough water to stay alive another year. It's interesting how those same people who are so concerned about the illegal children on the border have no interest in helping the families who have lost their livelihoods because of their environmental fantasies.

I love California, it's my home and I have no other. I understand why some people hate the state and its people. However, I hope they will also understand that there are many natives whose hearts are broken, and who've seen our state be destroyed by an influx of Easterners who think it's just one giant Disneyland and that they can come here and destroy it. The illegal aliens aren't helping either. In the 1980s I had a bumper sticker on my car that said, "Welcome to California, Now Go Home!" I mean't it then and I mean it even more now.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
--compliments on expression --quite moving --an elegy, really. It would be nice if sad stories were all just literary exercises and not so damn real.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
I was born at the Naval Hospital San Diego 1960. The first time I remember hearing the phrase " living, breathing constitution " was 3rd grade Mrs. Boucher in Sunnyvale. We still had to say the pledge of allegiance then, in 4th grade Mrs. Sanchez had us say it in mexican. She was way ahead of her time.

It wasn't the easterners, it was homegrown.

Although quite liberal, Don Henley sang it best, " Call some place paradise, Kiss it goodbye "
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
In 1978 I got out of the Army and headed off to college. At Costa Mesa Community College, one of the general ed requirements was met by taking California Geography. I expected a boring, but easy class, easy grade.

Instead I got a great class with a truly magnificent teacher. He had the entire class, on the very first day of class, on the edge of our seats, fascinated with what we were learning. Yeah, for a geography class. Amazing man.

One of the topics that made his class so interesting was.... water issues. Water shortages, problems, and especially, politics in the Golden State.

We were in trouble then, and headed to much more severe trouble, if nothing changed.

Well, nothing changed.

Not for the better, anyway. More liberals got elected, more stupid policies were enacted.

California is doomed, and every person in the nation who eats food will pay the price.



20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
I've always found it fascinating how droughts and socialism seem to be inexorably linked. The more socialist a government, the worse and more prolonged the droughts.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
--sure makes ya wonder --the cart before the horse, the heart before the curse --
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yup, look at China, look at Russia's Lake Aral, look at North Korea, look at the Middle East in general (with one notable exception).
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
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