Ross W. Lee: Modesto area farmers should use the drought to their advantage

January 27, 2014 

The drought situation is serious for local farmers, but it creates opportunities for cooperation in ways that might not have been considered. The Bee’s recent editorial (“’t make drought worse than it already is,” Jan. 26, Page D1) cites advantages that almond and walnut farmers may have as compared to the critical feed shortages faced by dairy farms. Dairy and nut-farming neighbors should work together to share what precious irrigation water will be available. An almond farmer with an irrigation pumping system could allow his dairy neighbor use of his district irrigation water to flood the field for growing corn. American farm families historically have pulled together in times of crisis and somehow found a way to help each other survive. Hopefully, we will see them do so again.

Another positive outcome of the drought could be a reality check for our political leaders that food and people are more important than bugs and fish. The outcry to build more water storage facilities needs to be louder and common sense needs a place at the table. We see firsthand how crucial water is for California’s economy and how shamefully unprepared we are as a state in a time of drought which historically occurs from time to time.

There are some silver linings in this time of crisis. We just need some clouds.



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