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The Weekly News Source for Wyoming's Ranchers, Farmers and AgriBusiness Community

That’s a Drought

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Acouple of weeks ago, I watched a news show where our President was shown looking out over a dry, dry field with a couple of farmers in California’s San Joaquin Valley. They have had a drought for the last couple of years in most of California, and now it’s getting terrible.

So here is our President, kicking up dry clods of dirt on a farmed field with nothing coming up and telling these farmers he is going to propose placing $2 billion in his budget to build tunnels to deliver more water to this farming region. When members of our national Congress heard that remark, they were less than thrilled, and most said, “Fat chance that will happen with our large national debt.” 

Now remember, the San Joaquin Valley produces almost one half of our nation’s vegetables and other produce, such as nuts. It is a region vital to our nation’s food supply. While there, he talked about climate change. His Secretary of State was doing the same in Indonesia at that time. We now realize climate change is now the name for global warming, since that phase has cooled off. We all know that climate change has always been around, even before man and today the discussions are whether man is the cause. 

The President must not have taken the drought too seriously, for he dusted off his shoes and headed to the Palm Springs area, where he played golf there for three or four days. We all realize the amount of water is takes to keep golf courses green, especially in the southern desert of California, don’t we?

As Ronald Reagan said in his 1981 inauguration, while calling out the government for over regulation, “In this present crisis, government isn’t the solution. Government is the problem.” And there lies the problem in California.

I’m reading, even with the current drought, there is water available to the farmers, but the damaging effects have been magnified by destructive regulations. Federal policies under the Endangered Species Act are making things worse, not better. Millions of gallons have been diverted from human and farmland use because of federal regulations intended to help a tiny fish in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Delta – the delta smelt.

From December 2012 to February 2013 alone, more than 800,000 acre-feet of water that could have been conserved behind dams was allowed to flow to the sea. That water could have provided for the needs of 800,000 families and could have irrigated 200,000 acres of cropland said an article in the Washington Times. It went on to say, “The trigger for this destructive new policy was the Feds’ 2008 “biological opinion” for the smelt, which essentially said people’s need for water may not even be considered.”

Events like this make our Governor Mead’s water policy more important to complete, and water development more important to our state. We’ve seen what has happened in the Platte River, and now the feds are looking at the Missouri River drainage. The Colorado River drainage is always under scrutiny.

California has always managed their water for drought times. Their farmlands should be planted by now with even enough water for the smelt to survive. Californians have had the water issue worked out for some time, but this terrible law has raided their treasures of state water. We hope it doesn’t happen here.

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