Public awareness of the water shortages facing Western farmers and ranchers and what that means in terms of rising food prices and growing food insecurity continues to grow.
Lester Holt and NBC Nightly News Focus on Drought Impacts to Food Supply
The Western drought was highlighted on last night’s national broadcast of NBC Nightly News, with Lester Holt. The 4-minute segment touched on drought impacts to Colorado farmers, the historic low levels behind Hoover Dam in Lake Mead, and showed footage of dried-up farms and waterfowl habitat in the Klamath Basin. Much of the episode focused on impacts to California’s Central Valley, where our friends and producers Joe Del Bosque and Bill Diedrich explained how water withheld from farms will translate into less products available in the supermarket.
California Farm Water Coalition executive director Mike Wade was also spot-on in this story, which provided a tremendous opportunity to deliver a message about the value of Western farms.
“What we’re seeing is a diminished capacity to feed our own people,” Mr. Wade told NBC News.
The Daily Wire: Farmers make difficult decisions regarding their livelihood.
Mr. Wade was also interviewed by The Daily Wire, which ran a story about the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) board’s announcement of a Water Shortage Emergency, putting forward an emergency program 6 million residents to restrict outdoor watering to 1 day per week.
He told The Daily Wire that farmers have already been feeling the effects of low water delivery before this most recent move by MWD.
“It has already impacted farmers. They’ve already borne the brunt of the drought,” Mr. Wade said, adding they “are facing what is essentially a 95% water supply cut.”
You can read the entire Daily Wire story HERE.
Wyoming Irrigators Face Curtailment
The drought is impacting food production capacity in other parts of the West, as well.
In Wyoming, Irrigators on the Tongue River were notified of possible restrictions, while their counterparts on the North Platte under order to curtail irrigation.
April is typically when thousands of irrigators on the North Platte River — particularly along its tributaries — begin to divert spring runoff onto hayfields and crops, kicking off what they hope will be a productive growing season. Today, however, those with junior water rights are under new orders to curtail those critical early springtime diversions — a rare scenario that could prove costly for many farmers and ranchers in the state.
CLICK HERE to read the full story, which appeared in yesterday’s Oil City News.
Food shortages, rising prices … we’ve been warning about this for years
War in Ukraine is stoking fears of rising food prices and shortages, but water policies also are threatening our ability to supply the U.S. with food.
Family Farm Alliance Director Paul Orme (ARIZONA) and Executive Director Dan Keppen (OREGON) co-authored this guest opinion, which ran in the Arizona Republic on April 20th. The Republic, published in Phoenix, is circulated throughout Arizona and is the state’s largest newspaper.
Western ranchers and farmers are major contributors to our national food and fiber production capacity, once the envy of the word. Unfortunately, without restoring balance among competing water uses, these producers cannot continue to operate.
“People need to know that, if we abandon farmers, consumers will pay for it through less food availability, higher prices, and greater reliance on unstable foreign sources,” said Mr. Keppen. “A safe, affordable, domestic food supply is a national security issue, just like energy. The government must make it a priority.”