Fresno, California – is farm country: “Fresno serves as the economic hub of Fresno County and California’s San Joaquin Valley. The unincorporated area and rural cities surrounding Fresno remain predominantly tied to large-scale agricultural production.”
And central California farmers have been some of overreaching governments’ biggest victims. To cite but one, years-long example of stupid government policy causing serious harm – we have the Delta Smelt Disaster.
California’s Man-Made Drought (2009): “California has a new endangered species on its hands in the San Joaquin Valley – farmers. Thanks to environmental regulations designed to protect the likes of the three-inch long delta smelt, one of America’s premier agricultural regions is suffering in a drought made worse by federal regulations.
“The state’s water emergency is unfolding thanks to the latest mishandling of the Endangered Species Act. Last December, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued what is known as a “biological opinion” imposing water reductions on the San Joaquin Valley and environs to safeguard the federally protected hypomesus transpacificus, a.k.a., the delta smelt. As a result, tens of billions of gallons of water from mountains east and north of Sacramento have been channelled away from farmers and into the ocean, leaving hundreds of thousands of acres of arable land fallow or scorched.”
California’s Drought (2014): “California farmers fallowed about 500,000 acres of land this year. But here’s the thing: much of this land could have been productive had the state stored up more water from wet years and not flushed 800,000 acre-feet into the San Francisco Bay last winter and an additional 445,000 acre-feet this spring to safeguard the endangered delta smelt. That’s enough for roughly three million households to live on and to irrigate 600,000 acres of land….
“The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Wednesday predicted that fruit and vegetable prices will rise by 5% to 6% this year due largely to lower production in California’s Central Valley.”
You can’t do a whole lot of farming without water. This government-caused disaster has been incredibly destructive of and to farmers in Fresno (and way, way beyond). So when the Fresno Bee newspaper writes about farmers – presidential candidates should pay dedicated attention.
Central California Agriculture Sees Failed Crop of Presidential Hopefuls: “Nisei Farmers League President Manuel Cunha is angry about it. Like many in the industry, Cunha worries a lot about water, and wonders why it doesn’t seem to be on any presidential candidate’s radar….California Citrus Mutual’s (Joel) Nelsen agrees. ‘We have continued challenges on water from regulators,’ he said. ‘Fish keep winning.’”
And the government-caused water disasters are in fact nationwide.
Obama’s Water War: “On its face, the Waters of the United States rule is largely a technical document, defining which rivers, streams, lakes and marshes fall under the jurisdiction of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers. But opponents condemn it as a massive power grab by Washington, saying it will give bureaucrats carte blanche to swoop in and penalize landowners every time a cow walks through a ditch….(T)he agriculture industry and other opponents (will be) suing.”
The end result being?
The EPA is Turning Water on Farms Into a Weapon Against Farmers
Republican presidential candidates should be as outspoken as possible against these government abuses – and pledge to immediately end them upon taking office.
Another big issue for farmers – in Fresno, and everywhere else? Trade: “Nisei Farmers League President Manuel Cunha…frets about trade….(West Valley farmer Dan) Errotabere…acknowledges the important issues at play such as…trade.”
What farmers want – is free trade. And there is a farm-specific, less-government free trade proposal (which actually works for ALL trade) – ready-made for Republican candidates to champion: zero-for-zero.
“Florida Republican Congressman Ted Yoho has put forward on zero-for-zero a (bipartisan) ’Sense of the House’ resolution, ‘Expressing the sense of Congress that all direct and indirect subsidies that benefit the production or export of sugar by all major sugar producing and consuming countries should be eliminated….’
“‘[A] free market approach rewards the best and most efficient business people and not the most heavily subsidized producer.…(Zero-for-zero) could stabilize domestic and ultimately world market…prices….(Getting) government out of markets creates free markets, and free markets lead to free and fair markets, and that, in the final analysis, is where world (markets) need to be.’”
In an election year when the great re-discovered voting bloc is blue-collar workers – these proposals to get government off of farmers’ backs should be no-brainers.
Here’s hoping there are candidates with the brains to take them up.
This first appeared in Red State.