California “Drought” to Affect Cost of Food Nationwide

EditorialBy Stephen Frank

Recently George Skelton of the Los Angeles Times repeated an idea that is circulating in Sacramento. The idea is simple, order the government should restrict the crops being planted in California. For instance, viagra almonds growing on trees take much more water than row crops, ask such as tomatoes. Imagine a farmer waiting for a government agency to tell them what crops and how much can be planted.

This is just one example of the problems facing California farmers and American consumers.

Yes, California is living through one of the worst droughts in our history. The Sierra snowpack, where a large amount of our water comes from, is down 10% from normal. The Federal Water Project is guaranteeing ZERO amount of water for farmers. The State water project is willing to allocate between 5-25% of needed water for farmers, based on location in State. California has a drought, but the lack of water is due to government policy.

  1. For forty years the policy of Gov. Jerry Brown started in 1975, when he was first elected governor, has continued. The policy was to stop the construction of infrastructure projects like roads and dams.
  2. Environmentalists have stopped the building of desalinization plants. In Santa Barbara they built a plant in the early 1990’s but were never allowed to open it. Now that water is being trucked into Montecito and other areas of the County, they are allowing the plant to open. Along the San Diego and Orange County coasts several are within a year from opening. But, they will take care of the growth in population instead of meeting current needs.
  3. Both the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas have allowed millions of acres of feet of water to flow into the ocean. In the North this is because of the effort to “save” the delta smelt and other fish. In LA, it is because of government being lazy in saving water. This has been known since the 1970’s and nothing has been done to save the water.

Now the nation is going to be harmed by government policies, both State and Federal. The availability of California grown food will be lessened. “Exports of California food products took a dive in August (2014), with fruit and tree nuts decreasing by 8 percent when compared to the same time last year and vegetables dropping by 7.8 percent, according to data released Friday by Beacon Economics.

The cause is fairly obvious, said Beacon trade expert Jock O’Connell. An unprecedented drought has led to fallowed fields and less food available for export. Ultimately, California can expect a rise in agricultural imports, O’Connell predicted, as grocers are unable to maintain volumes of locally-sourced produce.”

The lack of water this year is going to be worse than last year. Plus, the State is monitoring the use of groundwater more closely and in several cases the over drafting of groundwater has been stopped.

What does this mean for the national consumer?

The California Department of Food and Agriculture reports, “California’s agricultural abundance includes more than 400 commodities. The state produces nearly half of US-grown fruits, nuts and vegetables. Across the nation, US consumers regularly purchase several crops produced solely in California.”

So when California produces fewer crops, the economics of food changes in at least two ways.

First, the cost of California produced food, more than half the nation’s supply, will increase. Simple economics, the less of a product that is wanted, the higher the price.

The second affect will be the increased importation of food from Mexico and Central and South America. Already peaches and other fruits from Chile are flooding the California fruit markets. This helps the Chile economy, but once sold in the United States, at a lower price than American grown fruit, it will keep and grow market share. Like American manufacturing has been sent overseas, it looks like food production is joining them.

The United States Trade Representative Office reports this about Chile, “U.S. imports of agricultural products from Chile totaled $2.9 billion in 2013, the 8th largest supplier of Ag imports. Leading categories include: fresh fruit ($1.6 billion), planting seeds ($413 million), wine and beer ($321 million), and processed fruit and vegetables ($254 million).”

California water policy, no dams, no stopping water flowing into ocean, lack of desalinization plants and others policies based on environmentalism and ideology have created a water shortage. It cannot be reversed until the policies are repealed. Until then, the jobs of Californians are being lost and the cost of food for a whole nation will go up. Government water policy is lose-lose.

When will the public realize the lack of water is due to government not nature?

From Fertile Fields

From Fertile Fields

To Dust Bowl

To Dust Bowl


Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank


Stephen Frank: Is the the publisher and editor of the California Political News and Views.  Mr. Frank speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows and is a full time political consultant.

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