With water in short supply for western farms, a coalition of farmers and farm organizations throughout the west have come together to alert U.S. consumers that without prioritizing a safe, affordable, domestic food supply; higher prices and food shortages could be coming soon.
The first step was a national ad which ran in the Wall Street Journal Saturday, April 2. The ad, which can be seen here, reminds consumers that in world of global uncertainties, we can’t afford to take the farms that produce our food for granted.
Over 80% of our country’s fruits, nuts and vegetables are grown west of the Rockies but current government policies are putting that food supply, and the farms that produce it, at risk. In addition to produce, beef, poultry and dairy are also at risk.
Farms are always the first to have their water supply cut. For most western farmers, this is the second year of very little or no stored water. In addition, the water bureaucracy continues to allocate water for purposes that decades of data show simply do nothing to help fish or the environment. Our government must also move much more quickly to build the infrastructure necessary for us to store water in wet years for use in dry ones like 2022.
Without balance among water uses, none of these farms can continue to operate. Consumers will see shortages at the store, even higher prices, be forced to rely more heavily on increasingly unstable foreign sources, or all of these at the same time. And once the grocery shelves are bare, it will be too late. Unfortunately, most American consumers are simply unaware that our food supply is at risk.
Consumers have experienced supply chain disruptions over the past two years and now see the tension around the world as a potential threat to global food supplies. We thought it was important to remind them that California remains our best, most reliable source for food if farmers have the water they need to grow it,” said Mike Wade, executive director of the California Farm Water Coalition.
Western irrigated agriculture supports the national economy and is the foundation for U.S. consumers to pay less of their disposable income on food than anywhere else in the world,” said Dan Keppen, executive director of the Family Farm Alliance, one of the partners in producing the ad.
The Journal ad, which was a first step, contained a QR code, taking consumers to a website with more information. Social media outreach is also planned in order to amplify the message in the ad and continue to raise awareness. U.S. consumers must insist on a domestically grown food supply before it is too late.
We encourage all farmers and farm organizations to share the ad as widely as possible. If you’d like to participate in this program moving forward, contact Mike Wade, Executive Director of the California Farm Water Coalition at MWade@faramwater.org.