Saturday, October 25, 2014
California Drought, How it May Help Small Farmers in the End
I know there are many subtleties and ins and outs that follow the California drought. I am sure what I have read or know about it barely scratches the surface. Certainly there hasn't been a lot of moisture fall either in rain or snow. We know there is mismanagement and a whole bunch of political bull crap and a general trend towards third world socialism at play as well. There are many much smarter people than I out there to explain it and thousands who live there that can give first hand accounts on exactly what is being done wrong or right.
When it comes to the doom callers who attempt to use California's abundant agricultural output as leverage to demand outside water inputs into the state though I do have an opinion. There is no denying the fact that over the last 100 years or so California has cornered the market on so many agricultural niches that it has become the worlds largest supplier in almost all categories. Fruits, nuts, dairy, rice...etc. etc. But at what cost? It has required massive energy and resource inputs. This entire problem is not just a question of water but all kinds of resources and energy to keep the infrastructure maintained. It has also created a political crisis that was decades in the making but has now spilled out to effect the entire United States in the form of illegal immigration and liberal politics.
With the proper resources in play California had the ideal climate and soil to basically destroy the small farmers across the entire continent. The unique climate and environment of say Wisconsin could no longer compete with the Californian dairy production as long as the resources were available to get the water they needed. Cheap fuel costs gave California an edge over Georgia's Nut producers. The great climate coupled with cheap infrastructure costs lifted California's fruit production above Washington's Apple production. You get the idea.
Did Washington or Wisconsin begin clamoring for some way to move California's mild climate to their states?
This isn't just a lack of moisture issue but one of resources and overall cost. Massive amounts of arable land was taken out of production once California began it's rise to agricultural greatness. How many small farms were gobbled up by the Federal and State governments to create nature preserves or National forests now that the land was not needed? How many mutually beneficial regulations or agreements were suddenly no longer important once California covered the beef production?
The possible answers are almost endless. Even in the private sector. How many strip malls were built because farmland was devalued? How many suburbs became more profitable than a field of corn or an old orchard?
Already I am noticing a much higher demand for local agricultural items and with the rising prices locally produced items are able to compete once again. In the long term a continued drought in California could well be beneficial for small farmers throughout the country and once again strengthen landowner rights as well.
I certainly wouldn't wish a drought on anyone even if it benefited me or a group I was partial to but I can't help wondering if we are seeing something more than just a drought here as many claim. Perhaps what we are seeing is just another aspect of economic, political and resource decline and a way that nature can once again balance itself.
In the end I think there is much more to California's agricultural boom than just water and we may be seeing the results of these issues coming to a head all at once. More moisture may alleviate the problem for a few years but I suspect just like our economic issues it will continue to come back over and over again in increasing amounts. If correct this presents some opportunities for Small Farmers to once again begin carving themselves a niche in the overall markets. Personally I think a move to more local production scattered across the USA once again is our best long term move anyway.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!