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Turner: Dry ditch portends hard future for farmers


I am soon to be a fifth-generation farmer here in the Klamath Basin and have always looked forward to seeing what my agricultural future has for me.

Ever since that first tractor ride with my dad, agriculture has had my heart. The lifestyle, experiences and character I have gained while living on a farm is honestly an unforgettable feeling.

Recently after school I drove around a little red farm pickup that has been on our family farm my whole life, just out enjoying the agricultural scenery which never gets old. About halfway through my drive I stopped on a wooden bridge and mindlessly stared at a dry canal which has never been dry this time of the year during the 18 years I have been alive. I stared blank off into the distance and noticed how quiet and dead our ecosystem in the basin was.

This time of the year you always hear animal life communicating to no end, enjoying the canal full of water. You hear irrigation systems watering crops to grow and fulfill the needs to feed America. You see waterfowl using the canal and ditches for a safe place to mate. You see hardworking men out changing water before sundown. You see mothers and fathers taking their kids out for drives showing them how great agriculture really is. You see muskrats and otters getting ready to mate and using the canal full of water trying to make a living just like us farmers.

But the devastating part about all of this is everything I just listed was far from being heard or seen during my drive on this recent afternoon.

The Klamath Basin water crisis really set in my heart this day and made me miss the little things I have seen and heard the past 17 years of living on a farm. I realized that not only is this hurting farmers, but it is ruining the experiences kids get from living in a rural, agriculture-based community. Itís ruining habitat and water sources for animals, and is making young men like me worry that farming might not be here when it is my time to produce crops to feed America.

ó Zack Turner, 18, is a student at Lost River High School. He farms outside Malin with his family.



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