American taxpayers will bail out California agribusiness for how much?
The press is beginning to toss around figures of the billions lost by California agribusiness due to the drought. The current figure is $1.84 billion to agriculture alone, total costs around $2.74 billion.
Estimated losses to migrant labor are harder to find because los trabajadores internacionales migrate elsewhere in times of drought. Their "anecdotal information" is almost always more accurate than the professors, but they don't care about gross figures. If at all possible they will avoid becoming part of " the ripple effects to the entire economy." They aren't as tied to California real estate as a UC professor is, probably because they can't access UC's great low interest loan programs for professors and administrators.
We wonder if the media will be as eager as it has been in this "disaster story," to research and broadcast the amount of money American taxpayers will pay out to recompense these humble "stewards of the land," currently pumping aquifers so dry the land overhead sinks.
Will the amount of subsidies, subsidized crop-insurance premiums and payouts, disaster payments and other government loans and grants to agribusiness be more than, equal to, or less than the calculated drought related losses?
How much will American taxpayers be asked to pay to remediate, if any remediation is possible or requested, collapsed aquifers beneath the Fruit, Nut and Vine Bowl of the World, the San Joaquin Valley?
Or will we be asked to attend more rounds of local meetings to listen to the perpetual whine of jeans clad millionaires as they mangle common sense and the English language arguing for more delay of water regulations and exemptions for themselves, Blessed Children of the Soil that they are, from any gummint regulation in perpetuity? -- blj
Ongoing drought to cost California $2.74 billion
Agricultural economists at the University of California, Davis, said the drought, entering its fourth year, would impact the state more in 2015 than in 2014, when the total cost to the economy was estimated to be $2.2 billion.
"If a drought of this intensity persists beyond 2015, California's agricultural production and employment will continue to erode," said co-author Josue Medellin-Azuara, a water economist with the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences.
The report, released on Tuesday, also estimated that with dry conditions and difficulty obtaining water for irrigation, farmers would have to fallow 542,000 acres (220,000 hectares) of land in 2015, about 114,000 more acres (46, 000 hectares) than estimated for 2014.
The loss to California's agricultural industry alone in 2015 is estimated at $1.84 billion, but when taking account the ripple effects to the entire economy, the total is closer to $2.74 billion, the university said.
Still, the economists pointed out that California's agricultural economy is growing despite the drought.
"We're getting by remarkably well this year - much better than many had predicted - but it's not a free lunch," said lead author Richard Howitt, a UC Davis professor emeritus of agricultural and resource economics.