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Putting farm, water use in perspective
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Hey Real Estate Boys; We read your article last week on the water situation here in the Valley. While I agree with you that it’s not a government conspiracy, there really is a drought and we all need to be aware of wasting water. I do take offense that farmers seem to feel they are entitled to just open gates and flood their fields and not cut back like the government is asking of us. If I read correctly, we’ve been asked to cut back 30% maybe more, maybe a little less. As I drive around I see a lot of water being wasted. Schools watering on off days, neighbors still watering daily and even then at 11 in the morning, why do they get off not following the rules? Mainly my beef is with our farmers and why they feel they are above the drought. Explain gentlemen.

Don Padro

Interesting name Don Padro. While we take no issue with any reader agreeing or disagreeing it’s OK to have your own feelings and thoughts. America was and still is founded on our thoughts and rights of those thoughts. 

OK, your Real Estate Boys are going to stand on the soap box for a while and vent. We are just coming out of a very deep blue funk economy. The last 10 years have taken a toll on families, businesses and housing. The one bright spot in our local economy has been the farming sector. Farmers fortunately have been having banner years while you and I have been having bummer years. 

Farmers have supported our local merchants with purchasing new tractors, new trucks, furniture, tools and various related items. Back 15 years ago farmers were getting .97 cent per pound of almonds. Today, or at least Dec. 2014, they received $3.50 per pound. In Dec. 2005 it was $2.81 per pound. It’s the same story with corn, in 2000 farmers were getting about $1.82 per bushel of corn. Then in the wisdom of our government Congress pushed ethanol which is made with corn and corn prices shot up to $6.30 in late 2011 and has settled a bit today at $3.19 per bushel. In the meantime many beef farmers and poultry producers went out of business because of the high prices. At $4 to 6 dollars per bushel farmers simply could not get back their production costs. Just for your information a chicken will consume about 10 pounds of corn in its 10 week life to mature at about 4.75 pounds and a bushel is 55 pounds. So you can see that a chicken will eat about a dollar’s worth of corn in its life. 

The Valley is a unique place to live. You have the Corn Belt in the Midwest, cotton belt and then the Great Central Valley which produces much of the entire world’s food. Our farmers raise corn, hay, peaches, apricots, walnuts, almonds, cherries, pigs, cows, chickens and a whole bunch or other products to sell to the world. We are a farm based economy. Farm based means we rely on the farmers to keep our economy afloat. 

So, I’ll gladly let my front lawn go brown, and cut my water consumption in half so our farmers can continue producing all their products for the world. My grass will grow back one day while that almond tree takes 4 to 6 years before it produces. I’ll let my grass go brown if it means the chickens or cows get less expensive corn or hay to eat, keeping the cost down. There are farmers on the Westside being forced to fallow their land because they CAN’T get any water this year. Those farmers have been forced to rip out their trees. I’d let my grass turn brown to give them water. One other consideration is the unemployment rates in the areas that are not getting any water. The jobless rate is terrible. Let your grass turn brown, Don.

Farmers are excellent stewards of our environment. Farmers do their level best to water just enough to keep their crops alive and producing. They pay for their water and surly don’t wish to over pay and then on top of that waste it in the gutters like the town folk does. Lastly, I sure hate to see our Valley economy if the farmers don’t get water. That would be a double whammy and one I’m not sure we could absorb. We’re with the farmer here, Don. 

Thanks for the great question, Don. Water is the life blood of the Valley. Let’s just hope the news this morning was correct and there is an El Nino forming out in the Pacific and we get rain, lots of rain and then snow, lots of snow to refill our reservoirs and start replenishing our aquafers. 

Lloyd is at or 209.-531.4853

Larry is at or 209.-484.4216