Agriculture

Our friendly local farmers/environmentalists/developers

Submitted: Feb 24, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 The latest news (below) on the Ferrari Ranch development project near Atwater made us ask once again if this was truly a whole New Day of such blinding light that it should wipe our memory as clean as a virus destroys computer files.

But, not quite ...

 Read More »
| »

Drought dementia #5: "You can't fault them ..."

Submitted: Feb 22, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

The new Farm Bill, nothing less than the final triumph of finance, insurance and real estate special interests over government in yet another real estate deal -- agriculture,  severs all connections between agriculture and actual husbandry. It's no accident that almond and pistachio orchards are being planted in record numbers. But this bubble won't burst until -- in the projected long drought -- the hedge funds, banksters and the vampire squid of finance, enabled by our local "stewards of the land unto the seventh generation,"  have sucked the Valley aquifer dry, taken their profits and all the money taxpayers provide for the new, risk-free, totally insured "agriculture," and left ... what, exactly? A desert? It was always a desert, but this one might end up containing more ghost towns than the gold and silver rushes left behind them in California and Nevada on poisoned ground. Agribusiness wouldn't care if every county seat down 99 turned into another Detroit, just as long as the big boys got out whole. -- blj

 Read More »
| »

The irrelevance of Hanson

Submitted: Feb 16, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

  

We found this recent column on the California drought by Dr. Victor Davis Hanson, an acclaimed  academic and Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, (1) and heir to a farm in Fresno County, to be unusually wide of the mark, even by his standards. Hanson is a writer that people interested in rural California read. We often agree with his facts yet end up mystified by the opinions he "derives" from them. Nevertheless, he is one of ours, so we remain interested.

The topic of Hanson's column is water, specifically how environmental "extremists" are stealing it from farmers. He assumes agriculture's rights to water are absolute and  neglects to mention that agriculture uses 80 percent of the developed water in California. Without that elementary nod to reality, reasonable people just throw up their hands and ask, "When is this enfant savant going to grow up?" 

 Read More »
| »

Not two sides to every story in the Bee

Submitted: Feb 13, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

  

This article is a curious excuse for journalism because, although Valley congressmen "pressure(s) both sides in ports dispute," only one side is given a line in the story:

On Thursday, citing the higher costs entailed by holiday and weekend wage rates, the Pacific Maritime Association said it would suspend vessel operations through Monday. The association’s leaders contend longshoremen have been engaged in deliberate work slowdowns.

 Read More »
| »

Drought Dementia #3: Fracking, regulatory corruption, aquifer contamination, Harvard and Hilmar Cheese

Submitted: Feb 03, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

Successful polluters the world around agree: You just can't trust a government you don't own.

And that's why the smart people in the oil industry figure that whatever the regulatory laws might be, it's all in the enforcement, otherwise known as the "empty monitoring envelop syndrome."  The smart people at Harvard know they can drill all the water they want near Paso Robles. They just may not be smart enough to anticipate what might be in that water. But, they're all Harvard lawyers, so they can sue somebody. And Hilmar Cheese, after a successful run for years with a corrupt state water quality board, dug deep injection wells and accepted federal monitoring. We wonder how that's all going to work out in the drought. Do curds and whey clog drip-irrigation nozzles? -- blj

 Read More »
| »

Drought dementia 2

Submitted: Jan 30, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

The drought has revealed that all the government and hydrological science available is not going to put California water policy back together again. It is like submitting Humpty Dumpty to exhaustive scientific studies of the tensile strength of egg shells and the heights of walls. As long as the king and his men keep growing, it will just get worse.

The total effect of groundwater regulation and associated increased expenses is going to be to put Valley agriculture 100-percent in the pockets of irrigation and water districts and federal and state agencies with jurisdiction over surface waters. The template has been in place for decades, but this will cause even more concentration of land ownership in the hands even fewer, richer growers. This neo-feudal system of agribusiness is so overwhelming that no new ideas or leadership can be generated from within it. Perhaps the bill by the two congressmen from north of the Bay Area at least won't add to the destruction. -- blj

 Read More »
| »

Solar patches

Submitted: Jan 29, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

  

 

We join the writer of a letter recently published in the Merced Sun-Star in welcoming a genuine "Fortune 250" energy corporation, NGR, to Merced County.  We couldn't imagine anything as exciting short of news that Occidental Petroleum was opening a local office to manage it fracking wells. We are particularly joyful  to see that this authentic renewable energy corporation calls its plantations of solar panels "gardens" instead of the clunckier "parks." used by a German-based transnational solar corporation to describe its plan to put 1,400 acres under  glass on the west side.

 Read More »
| »

Drought dementia

Submitted: Jan 27, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

Agriculture is of great economic value in Merced County. With average age of 29, six years younger than the state average, there just aren't many people in the county who remember when there was a large population of small farmers, less than half the total population of today, and harvesting was a community event with help from migrants. Today, farmers are few, the only survivors were the beloved of their bankers, and farm labor was criminalized in the mid-Sixties.

 Read More »
| »

One more way to profit from misery on the US Mexican border

Submitted: Jan 26, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Some milestones in border history: 

Bracero Program ended, 1965

Maquiladora Program started, 1965

Massive loans at up to 25% interest, 1970's

Loan Defaults

Peso destabilized, steady rounds of devaluation

Plan de Ayala excised from Mexican Constitution. 1980's

Poorest rural villages redlined, 1980's

Rise of drug cartels, late 1980's

US dumping feed corn in Mexico, 1980's

 Read More »
| »

Global warming and your lawn

Submitted: Jan 22, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 


1-21-15

Vice News

Your Well Manicured Lawn Is Contributing to Climate Change

 Read More »
| »


To manage site Login