Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted an article yesterday about what is happening in the Central Valley in California. This is a picture I took on my vacation last summer while driving through the Central Valley.
As you can see from the picture, the former ‘breadbasket of the world’ doesn’t look as if it is producing much. Well, there’s a reason for that.
The article at Hot Air explains:
“Until recently, California’s Central Valley was one of the nation’s most productive agricultural regions. Not only did it feed itself, the state of California, and the entire country, it also produced exports to other nations. That kind of enterprise employed a lot of people in Central California, from farm hands to wholesalers, and created a high standard of living.”
What happened? The government got involved. Because of a small inedible fish called the delta smelt, water which had previously been delivered to the Central Valley through irrigation was cut off for seven months of the year. This not only impacted farming in the region–it had other serious negative effects on the area.
According to the article:
“The collapse (of the farm industry in the Central Valley) has another element to it for Californians as well. The state has a huge budget shortfall, currently estimated around $26 billion, and cannot afford to expand safety-net programs to help the Central Valley. One reason the budget hole is so large is because of the lack of revenue from normally-robust agricultural production in that region. Instead of being a net revenue producer, the Central Valley threatens to become a sinkhole of welfare spending that will hasten the bankruptcy of the nation’s largest state, and an economy that would normally rank among the top 10 in the world if considered as a nation unto itself.”
I’m not against protecting the delta smelt–I am sure it is a very nice fish (even though you can’t eat it), but I believe that we have to look at the entire picture here. I am sure some very well paid engineer can come up with a way to protect the fish and water the farmland. If we don’t start growing in the Central Valley again, none of us will be able to afford to eat!