Mar 23, 2022 | Blog

Global Insecurity Issue Update

Global Food Insecurity Fears Intensify

National media address increasing realities of a domestic food security crisis

As the Ukraine-Russia war escalates, and on the heels of our recent food security report entitled “Is Anyone Listening?, national media coverage of the dwindling water supply as it relates to future food shortages is picking up steam. We are seeing more global food insecurity in the wake of the conflict. Below you will find the latest news and commentary on the issue.

Additionally, we encourage you to share our report far and wide to communicate the need for a strong Western irrigated agriculture water supply. As shared in last week’s email, food insecurity is an issue we have raised for decades. We call on national leaders to make policy decisions that re-prioritize food security.

National Media Report on Rising Food and Farming Costs

A flood of stories are addressing the impacts the global food shortage and inflation are having on domestic food security.

The Washington Post ran back-to-back stories covering both the national conflict’s impact on expected food and farming costs, and another article specifically on the California drought.

In “U.S. imports little from Ukraine and Russia, but food and farming costs are expected to rise”, the article focuses primarily on Midwest-produced commodities, though it addresses growing gas and equipment prices, which in turn drive up food prices throughout the supply chain.

An in-depth story on the effect of the Western drought was highlighted in Monday’s paper with “As it enters a third year, Calfornia’s drought is strangling the farming industry“. The excellent piece discusses the broad-ranging problems created by no allocation of water by the Central Valley Project and 5% deliveries by the state.

Alliance member, Westlands Water District, is quoted in the piece:

“There’s a basic question that we need to address and that is do we want to sustain irrigated agriculture in California?” said Tom Birmingham, general manager of Westlands Water District, which oversees federal water deliveries to more than 700 farms here spread over 1,000 square miles.

“If the answer is yes, then we need to determine how we’re going to invest in the infrastructure we need and what policies need to be changed to preserve it,” he continued. “If the answer is no, then how are we going to deal with the socio-economic impacts of its elimination?”

Please see the full articles for more and share on social media.

Additionally, you might be interested in stories addressing challenges to the global food supply from Forbes, New York Times and Reuters.

Westlands Water District Study

Last week, Westlands released THIS REPORT finding over 35,000 local jobs rely on Westlands Water District Agricultural Production. 

The study revisits facts and evidence in their 2016 study. It adds information on the impact of COVID-19 to the overall economy.

The report states that the district “is directly and indirectly responsible for some $4.7 billion dollars of economic activity and nearly 35,000 jobs across the economy.” Activities resulting in a direct impact total $3.2 billion of the $4.7 total, the report states.

Alliance Report & Commentary

We want to again raise the importance of sharing the latest Alliance report and wanted to share Alliance executive director Dan Keppen’s article, “Ukraine crisis shows importance of domestic supplies” that appeared in Western Farmer-Stockman.
The report and commentary shares questions the Alliance has raised to policy leaders for fifteen years related to food safety and security and the critical importance of Western producers who need reliable water supplies.

Mr. Keppen argues in the latest commentary that the U.S. needs a stable domestic food supply, just as it needs a stable energy supply.

“As we teeter on the brink of world war, that stability becomes even more pressing,” he writes. “Western irrigated agriculture is a strategic national resource, and the role of the federal government in the 21st Century should be to protect and enhance that resource.”

We will continue to keep you informed on this and other developments impacting Western irrigated agriculture.
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