A few growers were recently invited to meet with Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland to explain our position on California water. Fresno County is the number one agricultural county in the United States. We live in a very unique environment that allows us to feed not only a great part of the nation, but also the world.
Governor Newsom just introduced a plan that will prioritize any and all available water, and agriculture is at the bottom of that list. We are concerned about his knowledge of our needs and nervous that this limited resource continues to be divided by increased demand upon less and less water. It is ironic to have to explain to our elected officials the value of food… something which every hungry country already understands.
McClarty Farms has been very diligent in owning and acquiring property in areas of abundant ground water. We have had the rights to this water for over a century. It is often not about availability, but about ownership. We are nervous that we are being legislated by large populations in coastal cities with no knowledge of how food gets onto their table. Permanent crops must be planted years before they are ready to harvest. Water unknowns today are forcing farmers to make decisions that will impact our food supply five years from now. Our obligation is to educate and inform, making people aware of the growing concern we have for our way of life, our own families, and all agriculture-dependent families. We do not want to see bare grocery store shelves or be dependent on imports for our food security. We as farmers have always been innovative and creative, and we will continue to work to solve these challenges. Using available tools, we do everything we can to manage water as efficiently as possible. “Marginal” water-challenged areas are left fallow, while drip irrigation and new technology allows for better water management, determining the perfect quantity for plant needs.
Our job now is to make people understand that we need to share the most important commodity in California… water.
2 thoughts on “Secretary of the Interior Meets with California Farmers”
Wife and I grew up in CA, in 2015 we made the difficult decision to pull up our roots and relocate to mid state TN. One of the interesting facts we learned about the history of the area we settled in was it had a thriving fruit growing industry in the 19th / early 20th century. It’s gone now, not sure why, maybe competition from CA and the advent of refrigerated transport. Rather than fight the CA water wars, have you considered locating your operations out of state, where water is plentiful, land is more affordable and the politics are decidedly more business friendly?
It is certainly a topic that comes up from time to time. Many of the types of fruit we grow are grown in the Central Valley for a reason. The climate, soil, and other factors make it the only place to successfully grow some of these items. It would also be a really difficult undertaking to relocate thousands of acres of permanent crops – we’d essentially be starting over after more than 100 years of family farming in the Central Valley. We are hopeful that the challenges we face with water will continue to gain more ways of conserving and distributing this resource.
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