Fifteen years ago, Family Farm
Alliance leaders began ramping up efforts to convey the
growing concerns many had with what they were seeing happen
across the West. Agricultural water supplies were being
reallocated to meet growing urban and environmental water
We started asking our political
leaders pointed questions that we thought demanded answers.
At what point will too much agricultural land be taken out
of production? Do we want to rely on imported food for
safety and security? We pointed out to policymakers that
Europeans, who have starved within memory, understood the
importance of preserving their food production capability.
They recognized it for the national security issue that it
And some of those countries still do.
Earlier this month, Business Post
reported that all farmers in Ireland will be asked to plant
some of their land in wheat, barley and other grains, as
part of emergency plans being drawn up by the government to
offset a predicted food security crisis in Europe amid
Russia’s ongoing assault on Ukraine.
The Global Agricultural Productivity
(GAP) Report in 2010 first quantified the difference between
the current rate of agricultural productivity growth and the
pace required to meet future world food needs. That report
predicted that total global agricultural output would have
to be doubled by the year 2050 to meet the food needs of a
growing global population.
There was for a long time an inborn
appreciation and awareness by our own policy leaders for the
critical importance of a stable food supply. Now, it appears
that many simply assume that food is something that comes
from the local grocery store. Our arguments in support of
Western irrigated agriculture have in recent years been
drowned in a flood of commentary from faraway critics who
downplay and even criticize the importance of using water to
produce affordable and safe food and fiber.
Politicians, activists, and the media
appear to favor another message: climate change is
destroying the planet, and we must take immediate and
drastic action to halt it.
Meanwhile, the more pressing need to
produce 50% more food worldwide in the coming decades to
fill the looming global “food gap” is hardly mentioned at
At a time when the future of Ukraine’s
ability to help feed the outside world is at risk, the
world’s best producers — Western irrigators — are watching
their water flushed to the sea to purportedly help fish
populations. Decades of empirical evidence has failed so far
to show a positive response from those targeted fish to such
water shifting schemes. Meanwhile, our ability to increase
food productivity is further diminished.
The grim global hunger conditions we
once expected to encounter in 2050 may now hit us a decade
ahead of schedule.
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.
Earlier this month, the Family Farm
Alliance released a white
paper that further outlines
the insanity of the current situation, where our government
is taking actions to withhold water from the world’s best
food producers, at a time when global food shortage looms. I
encourage you to download
it and read further.
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. There may never be a better time than
now for thoughtful and courageous leaders to stand up and
shout down the critics and back seat drivers who don’t have
a single minute’s worth of experience in the Western water
If not now, when? If not us, who?
At the Family Farm Alliance, we will
continue our efforts to ensure Western irrigated agriculture
continues to play a vital role in feeding our nation, while
keeping our rural communities and the environment healthy.
At a time of unprecedented change, one
certainty holds firm and true — our nation’s most valuable
natural resource must be preserved.
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