Excerpted from: Grants Pass; OR (PRWEB)
To water advocate and researcher Sharon Kleyne, United Nations World Water Day is one of the most important days of the year.
The annual March 22 observance, says Kleyne, offers an opportunity to reflect on advances and setbacks in the ongoing global fresh water supply crisis, and to further educate the public about this critical issue.
Kleyne believes that fresh water supply should be the number one priority of nearly every government on Earth.
Sharon Kleyne is Founder of Bio-Logic Aqua Research, a fresh water, atmospheric and health research and product development center.
According to Kleyne, one of the most comprehensive and readable books about the global fresh water supply is Steven Solomon‘s classic, Water: the Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power and Civilization (Harper Collins 2009).
Kleyne first interviewed Solomon, in Rome at the time, on World Water Day 2010. On subsequent appearances, Solomon has offered updates.
In his book, Solomon describes water as “Earth’s most indispensable resource.” Fresh water, according to Solomon, is critical to human survival and economic development, and is more important than oil.
Fresh water wars remains an important factor in US politics, says Solomon. Imported water is critical to desert cities such as Phoenix, Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
In recent years, Kleyne adds, Colorado has been having its own internal water shortages while California is in the mist of the worst drought in a century. In California, water allocation to farmers from the Central Valley Project and State Water Project have been greatly curtailed, forcing farmers in the nation’s number one agricultural state, to pump ground water for irrigation.
Kleyne noted that 1.6 billion people worldwide lack access to abundant and sanitary water (http://www.un.org/waterforlifedecade/scarcity.shtml).
Ironically, she says, most Americans do not drink the recommended eight to ten glasses of water per day even where available and inexpensive.
California Farm Bureau Federation reported today that with hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland expected to be left unplanted this year due to water shortages, market analysts and economists say shoppers will likely begin to see higher prices on some food items later this year.
Sean Villa, president of Great West Produce, a produce broker in Los Angeles County, said he expects a number of products to be affected later this year, including broccoli, sweet corn and melons from growing regions in Fresno, Mendota and Huron, where farmers will likely cut acreage due to water shortages.
Gary Tanimura, a vegetable grower based in the Salinas Valley, said he will have to reduce his summer melon production in the San Joaquin Valley by about 20 percent due to lack of water.
Tanimura said spring and fall lettuce production in the San Joaquin Valley also could drop by 25 percent to 30 percent this year.
Cindy Jewell, director of marketing for California Giant Berry Farms in Watsonville, said farms in the Oxnard growing region—which typically plant a second crop in the summer for fall production—may not be able to do that this year.
“If the water situation continues to be this severe, there may not be as many of those acres replanted for fall production,” she said, adding that if the drought continues into fall and winter, when most strawberries are planted, it could affect what’s planted for next year’s harvest.
Because California supplies nearly 90 percent of the nation’s strawberries, Jewell said it is not likely that there will be much of a production shift to other regions.
“It’s not like someone else could step in and do that,” she said. “It’s all about climate and location.”
On the beef market, the California drought may have the most impact on niche products such as grassfed, organic or natural beef, said Lance Zimmerman, a market analyst for Colorado-based Cattlefax. Those programs typically rely more on local or semi-regional supplies, he said.
Retail beef prices have risen nationwide, Zimmerman said, because of improved demand and continued declines in supply caused by several years of drought in other major beef-producing regions in the Southern Plains and the Southeast.
In states where drought conditions have improved, ranchers are now trying to build back their herds, so they’re not sending as many animals to market, particularly mature cows, and that has driven up prices on meat cuts such as chuck roast and ground beef, he added.
On the produce market, fair weather accompanying the drought has, for now, caused vegetable crops to come to market ahead of schedule, creating an overlap of products from the desert region and the San Joaquin Valley.
That, combined with reduced demand from East Coast markets due to severe winter weather, has led to temporary oversupplies of some vegetables, Tanimura said, while Jewell reported that berry production has also been stimulated by warm winter weather.
As California faces one of the driest years ever recorded, the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Agriculture will be holding an informational session on drought resources for farmers, ranchers and farmworkers in Cloverdale.
This session will provide information on a variety of state and federal government programs designed to assist farmers with water conservation, crop insurance, and other on-farm management tools. Information on farmworker assistance programs will also be available.
While deadlines for some federal assistance programs have already passed for the 2014 crop year, there are many programs still available to those involved in agriculture.
Cloverdale event information:
March 17, 2014 – 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. (Cloverdale/Sonoma County) – Cloverdale Citrus Fairgrounds
Several state/federal government entities will be represented at this event, including: USDA Farm Service Agency; USDA Risk Management Agency; USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service; USDA Rural Development; the California Employment Development Department; and other community resources.
CDFA continues to support California’s drought response. The department has developed a web page as an information clearinghouse on assistance programs for farmers, ranchers and farmworkers; will continue to work with California food banks to address drought-related impacts; and is working with the University of California to develop a real-time assessment of drought impacts in farming and ranching communities.
Additionally, CDFA continues to work as part of Governor Brown’s Drought Task Force to coordinate drought response efforts with other state agencies.
For more information concerning drought resources for California farmers, ranchers, and farmworkers, please visit – www.cdfa.ca.gov/drought
The award-winning documentary, “The Fight for Water: A Farm Worker Struggle”, has been invited to screen at 5:40 pm, Saturday, March 8th at Columbia College’s Dogwood Theatre in Sonora, California, as part of the “Official Selection” at this year’s Back to Nature Film Fest Series.
Presented by the college’s Forestry & Natural Resources Club and the ITSA Film Festival, the screening will be followed by a Q & A with the filmmaker.
The film documents the impact of a federal decision on people living in a Central Valley farming community in the Spring of 2009 when their water supply was cut off and they staged a march to fight for their water.
The film proudly tells the humble story of Joe Del Bosque, who came from parents who were migrant farmworkers to become a farmer and a major Ag leader in the California Central Valley.
He was recently thrown into national spotlight when President Barack Obama visited his farm on February 14, 2014 to address the current drought in California.
Hollywood actor Paul Rodriguez, who helped organize the March for Water in the style of Cesar Chavez, and former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger are also featured in the film.
The documentary film, which serves as a cautionary tale and precursor to the current drought in California, has screened at over 10 film festivals, winning accolades and worldwide recognition. The film was produced by Juan Carlos Oseguera, 40, a San Francisco State University alumnus who has been a published film critic and an accomplished producer of several award-winning short films.
It recently received the Best Documentary award at the 2013 International Monarch Film Festival and at the 2013 Viña de Oro Fresno International Film Festival. The film also received runner-up honors for Best Documentary in Cinematography and for Best Political Documentary Film at the 2013 Action on Film International Film Festival, where it also received a nomination for Excellence in Filmmaking.
“People should see this film,” stated Lois Henry, a newspaper columnist who reviewed the film for The Bakersfield Californian. “It’s important that we understand that perspective of what the ‘Water Wars’ mean on a really, really human scale.”
This is Oseguera’s first feature-length film.
2014 CITRUS SHOWCASE TO COVER HLB, ACP, GMOs, WATER
The 2014 Citrus Showcase is March 6th at the Visalia Convention Center. There is no cost or registration required to attend. Breakfast and lunch tickets can be purchased by contacting California Citrus Mutual; reservations are required and tickets are expected to sell out fast.
The Citrus Showcase is the largest educational forum for California citrus growers, offering 6 separate breakout sessions focused on priority issues that are currently impacting the industry and industry tradeshow with over 100 exhibitors.
New this year is the first Annual Citrus Showcase Breakfast featuring keynote Speaker Felicia Marcus, Chair of the State Water Resources Control Board. In her talk, titled “Breakfast with Water” Marcus will discuss the biggest issues facing California farmers today – water supply and delivery.
As Chair of the Water Board, Marcus’ activities include oversight of Regional Water Board activity including directing nitrate regulation and clean drinking water initiatives as well as assisting the Administration in determining where the State’s limited water supply shall go.
“Water with Breakfast” is sponsored by Compac Equipment and Sorting, Rabobank, and Bank of the Sierra. The program will begin at 7:30 a.m. at the Visalia Marriott, Sierra-Nevada Ballroom adjacent to the Visalia Convention Center.
The Luncheon will begin at 12:30 p.m. in the Visalia Convention Center Trade Show Exhibit Hall. The program will feature keynote speaker Cathy Enright, Executive Vice President of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) who will discuss the public backlash against Genetically Modified crops.
GMO research has been identified as a possible solution path for the U.S. citrus industry to defend itself against the ravages of the deadly citrus plant disease Huanglongbing. Activists have raised concern about GMO products, citing safety as a primary reason why GMO engineered food product should not be allowed into the market place. Their momentum has caused government, members of the scientific community, and some stakeholders to take a step back from the spotlight. Enright will discuss how members of her organization have begun to fight back.
Sponsors of the Citrus Showcase are: JKB Energy, Valent, Pace International, Farm Credit Associations, Bayer CropScience, Dow AgroSciences, Syngenta, Fruit Growers Supply, Southern California Edison, Yara, Sinclair, Deep Point Group, 2,4-D Taskforce and Duarte Nursery.