November 2015

Federal subsidy for the Last Tango of the Dinosaurs

 “If it wasn’t for having crop insurance right now, I would have lost everything three generations of Messonniers have created. If it wasn’t for that, I wouldn’t be here. It’s that simple.” ... “This was the first year ever we didn’t do any rice,” (Tom Roduner) said. “Sometimes we have a little bit. It’s so bleak this year, between the water allocation and how dry things were, it just wasn’t feasible to do any.”
-- Calix, Merced Sun-Star, Oct. 28, 2015

Water: A Multiple Use Resource Forever, by Felix Smith

Felix Smith, who as a US Fish & Wildlife Service biologist was one of the first to recognize the disaster unfolding at the Kesterson wildlife refuge caused by toxic agricultural runoff, recently wrote a long paper, rich in information and richer in reflection, on the history of water in California and on the currently most pressing water issues in the state. We post it here for all who think they are still students of these complex, critical problems and remain more interested in learning than in blaming. -- blj
Water: A Multiple Use Resource Forever   

Our friendly local Netherlands-based bank in the news

 Rabobank, a Netherlands-based bank with offices throughout the San Joaquin Valley which presents itself as primarily and agricultural bank, has been involved in recent years in two major financial scandals in which for once the dairy industry doesn't figure at all. They are Mexican drug-cartel money laundering on the US/Mexico border and participation in rigging the London interbank interest-rate offer. The latter, explained below, has been a catastrophe for smaller banks.

Some questions about land subsidence

 Some questions from the center of the drought, where the towns are brown and orchards, vineyards and rowcrops are green:
How many people are really being economically injured by this drought?
How will Farm Bill crop insurance programs and other government subsidies and disaster payments go to ease the pain?
How much of the great contiguous aquifer that lies under the San Joaquin Valley has been destroyed by land subsidence?
Will local groundwater sustainability plans stop or even slow down subsidence?
Will the state stop or slow down subsidence?

Our young turkeys of the land gobble on

 “They (environmental groups) can emotionally appeal to the general-election voting base a whole lot more effectively than they can in an off-election cycle,” Koehn said.
Jeff Marchini, director of Division 1, said things are different than in 2011. If MID wants to protect its water from the environmental groups in Sacramento, switching the election years is the right thing to do, he said.

California Farm Bureau gibberish on federal drought bills

 This article, which appeared earlier this month in the Farm Bureau's AgAlert magazine, is a masterpiece of the neo-Farm Bureau Gibberish. We say "neo" because whole new generations of young sophists have taken over from older, less grammatical, folksier whining feeders at the government trough.
We would suggest you spend some time with the article, but we also suggest some orienting questions before you leap into the thicket.
(1) Is the federal government a subsidiary of California agribusiness?