Drought’s impact on Big Ag
Re “On water, Big Ag should ante up, too” (Editorials, April 5): California agriculture is getting hammered for supposedly not doing our part in a severe drought. To its credit, The Sacramento Bee has published some stats from UC Davis but still calls for Big Ag to ante up. Here’s some of the ante that California Ag has already put on the table and lost.
Direct costs to California ag total $1.5 billion. The statewide economic cost of drought in 2014 was $2.2 billion. About 17,100 ag jobs have been lost, and 500,000 acres of irrigated cropland have been taken out of production. Dairy and livestock have been reduced, and higher hay/silage costs represent $203 million in revenue losses, yet consumer food prices have been largely unaffected. Who should ante up?
John Finegan, Sacramento
founder, Beck Ag
No. 1 Dairy State? Not now
I was amazed that The Bee editorial board didn’t consider animal agriculture in its editorial. Drip irrigation is an effective and miserly strategy for conserving water when you are growing vegetables in your garden or on a factory farm, but there is no way to teach a cow or sheep to conserve water. On a hot day, a cow can drink as much as 25 to 30 gallons.
That is why California must give up its title as America’s No. 1 Dairy State and give it back to Wisconsin. They have the water to support all those cows. We don’t.
Don Knutson, Sacramento
What loss of smelt means
Re “Swimming upstream to save a victim of state’s water crisis” (Forum, Dan Morain, April 5): Dan Morain’s prescient article warning of extinction of Delta smelt may be more foreboding than our immediate drought obsession.
He indicates that loss of habitat conditions through human encroachment in our Delta makes us poor stewards of our resources. He is supported by good science and observation. The possible loss of Delta smelt along with acidification of oceans, rapid glacial melt, extreme weather – the list could go on – should make us wonder if adding more housing developments, widening highway lanes, using up groundwater reserves is in good long-term public policy.
We will see, but our descendants are the ones who will live with the consequences. My best to them.
Stephen Saffold, Sacramento
Save the smelt
In my opinion, people who are disagreeing with the thought of saving the Delta smelt should rethink their plan. If the Delta smelt go extinct, the species that feed on the smelt have the potential to go extinct as well. It’s like a red light – you have to stop or there will be a crash.
In the words of Dr. Seuss, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
Fallon Binns, West Sacramento