Farmers are facing more and more pressure over water. Water quality, water quantity, water rights. In California, the heavily urban population of Southern California heard from numerous media reports that farmers used 70% of the water (not true). In Whatcom County, anti-farm activists are calling for farms to meter their water and for government to impose an irrigation tax. And Courts and government agencies are saying maintaining historically high stream flows trumps all other uses.
But without water there is no food. This very short little video from National Geographic helps put this important issue in perspective.
This story from a Central California TV station provides an example of a fearful headline that is nothing more than clickbait. But, go beyond the headline designed to shock and draw readers, the story offers hope. Salmon protection and recovery is important. The farmers we know and work with as part of Save Family Farming are deeply concerned about salmon, even as they reject the activism of our critics who want to place the blame for all salmon loss on farms. The truth is quite well captured in the four H's of salmon loss: Hydro (dams), habitat, harvest, and hatcheries.
This story provides just one example of how farmers are pro-actively working for salmon. There are numerous such examples in Washington including how Whatcom farmers are trying to improve stream flows but are stymied by court decisions with serious unintended consequences for the environment. (See Fix Hirst & Foster video)
In the area of Northwest Washington where much of the activism against farmers related to salmon comes from faces serious harvest issues. It started with the listing of local salmon as endangered when it was noted that over 80% of the salmon stock had been depleted by over-fishing, now continues with serious over-harvesting. What is very troubling is that the WA State Department of Fish and Wildlife is the state's resource manager, and they do not appear to us to be managing it very well.
Enhancing our shared resource is in the interest of all of us, most certainly farmers. Progress is best made by working together and farm critics need to recognize that rather than doing all they can to drive farmers out of business with new laws, regulations and law suits, environmental interests are best served by sitting down and identifying what each party can do.
Representative Dan Newhouse has proven to be an unflagging friend of farmers, not just in our state but nation. We are deeply grateful for his leadership in addressing the abuse of the EPA in funding the What's Upstream campaign.
We were very saddened to hear of the loss of the Congressman's wife, Carol. Our deepest sympathy to Representative Newhouse and his family.
Save Family Farming
We're working to build public understanding of the environmental stewardship of our family farmers.