Farm Bureau sees governor's drought declaration as a 'wake-up call'
» June 4, 2008 «
With many family farmers and ranchers facing hard choices because of water cutbacks, the California Farm Bureau Federation said it supports Gov. Schwarzenegger's declaration of a statewide drought today.
"The governor's action is a wake-up call," California Farm Bureau Federation President Doug Mosebar said. "This is an emergency for many family farmers and their employees. And lack of water strikes at our ability to grow food that California and the nation depend on."
Farmers in many parts of California have seen water deliveries severely reduced by a combination of dry weather and court decisions channeling more water to protected fish. The reductions leave many farmers uncertain they'll have enough water for crops awaiting harvest.
Mosebar said Farm Bureau welcomes the governor's call for short-term, emergency action to address water shortages. Among its provisions, the executive order issued by the governor directs the state Department of Water Resources to implement water project operations and water exchanges to aid San Joaquin Valley farmers. The order also requires state agencies to provide technical assistance to improve landscape and agricultural irrigation efficiencies, and to gather data on crop losses caused by drought.
"We've certainly seen what drought can do to food production," Mosebar said. "A long drought in Australia is one of the factors blamed for increasing worldwide food prices this year. We must do everything we can to help our state's family farmers get through this year and prepare for next year."
He said Farm Bureau also embraced the governor's renewed call for additional water storage and for improved flexibility in moving water within California.
"This is our second straight dry year, and we know from hard experience that droughts can linger for several years in a row," Mosebar said. "The governor's actions will help immediately and we appreciate his ongoing push for a comprehensive water plan that tackles California's long-term water needs."
The California Farm Bureau Federation, the state's largest farm organization, works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of 92,000 members statewide.
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