CFWC radio: Water that grows farm products doesn’t stay on the farm

Water that grows farm products doesn’t stay on the farm.

Download the info graph here:

Plants need three things to grow: sunlight, soil…and water. Farmers depend on all three to grow hundreds of different crops right here in California. There’s no shortage of sunlight and soil… but four years of drought has caused deep cuts in the water farmers need to grow our food.

This year almost one in three acres of California’s irrigated farmland will receive no surface water at all. None.

Consumers and farmers alike are feeling the effects of the drought.

That’s important to all of us because farmers grow the food that ends up at the grocery store. Simply put, the water that farmers use to grow our food is water that we all consume in the food we eat.

Getting through the drought won’t be easy and we’re all in it together. California’s farmers are going to be working hard to make the most of the sunlight, soil… and the water they have, to continue producing the fresh California farm products we want for our families.

According to data from the California Department of Water Resources and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, California farmers actually use LESS water than the amount required to meet all of California’s food supply needs.

California drought affects farms and consumers

Farmers and consumers share a unique relationship. The California drought is helping people understand how important it is for farms to have the water they need to grow the food we all find at the grocery store. Serious water supply cuts affect our food supply as well as the people in rural communities who depend on agriculture for their jobs.


I Heard it on the Radio

From California Farms to Your Table

We enjoy a bounty of fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts grown on California farms – farms that produce about half of the fresh food in the U.S.  But food only grows where water flows.  California’s aging water system has put our economy, farmers and fresh food production at risk.  Help California farmers continue to feed families and keep our state’s economy strong by supporting solutions for a more reliable water supply.



Buy Local and Put Money in Your Pocket

American consumers benefit financially from irrigated agriculture.  In the U.S., consumers spend just 6.2 percent of their disposable income on food and non-alcoholic beverages compared to 10.2 percent on average in 28 other high-income countries.

To the average American family this represents a savings $3,820 each year in comparison to food costs paid by families in other countries.

As consumers we have choices on where we spend our money.  Efficient farming practices have helped keep food costs low while providing hundreds of healthful and affordable farm products at the grocery store.  Lower food costs means money that would otherwise be spent to feed our families can instead be used to enrich our lives through recreation, music, philanthropy and even ballet lessons.

ballet girl


Innovation = Lower Food Costs

From north to south, California farmers use innovative practices to boost water use efficiency. Over time, improvements in the way water is stored and delivered allows farmers to grow more food while using less water.  That stretches resources and helps keep costs low for consumers.

From 2003 through 2013 San Joaquin Valley farmers invested about $3 billion upgrading their irrigation systems on 2.5 million acres of farmland.  That investment circulates through the economy by creating jobs and economic benefits for on-farm and farm-related businesses.


Food Safety is Our Highest Priority

Consumers trust California farm products because they’re grown under the most stringent regulations governing pesticide use, health and safety, and worker protections.  Wages often exceed State and federal minimum standards.  It is comforting to know that the food we provide our families comes from families just like ours – produced by farmers who care about the environment; about food safety; and about the people working to bring the crops to market.


I Heard It On The Radio

Radio Advertising

Water supply and jobs
Water Supply and food security

Have you heard recently on the radio about California’s water supply crisis and the devastating impacts water supply cuts are having on the people and communities that depend on farming for their livelihoods?  The following statement by Dan Nelson, executive director of the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority describes the dire situation many people face this year.

Today’s announcement by the United States underscores just how broken California’s water system is.  No water deliveries this year from the federal Central Valley Project to our farmers will deepen the already terrible economic situation in our San Joaquin Valley and have a rippling effect that will extend through California and into the nation.  Less food will be grown and fewer jobs will be available as farmers leave their lands fallow.  Inactivity on the farm will impact demand for otherwise necessary products and services, further depressing our communities, some of which are among the poorest in the country. Estimates from UC Davis economists indicate up to 80,000 jobs will be lost and $1.6-2.2 billion will disappear from the economy in the San Joaquin Valley alone because of the reduced water supplies this year.  Along with the economic decline will come incalculable social consequences.

Though the drought is contributing to this gloomy outlook, the magnitude of the cutback is amplified by our dysfunctional regulatory and water supply systems.  We have had droughts before but never have the effects been so dire.  When this drought breaks, we will still have water shortages in California until we fix our storage, conveyance and management systems.  In the meantime, while we cannot control Mother Nature, there are actions that can be taken now to more efficiently manage the constraints placed upon our water supply system in order to protect endangered species.  We must recognize that this unprecedented human suffering highlights the need to rebalance the use of water for human and environmental purposes
“California’s water system was built years ago when California’s population was only half of what it is today.  This delivery system was never intended to serve an ever growing population, provide adequate supplies of water to our farms and meet expanding environmental obligations. Again, lawmakers and regulators must step forward to modernize our infrastructure by increasing reservoir storage, improving conveyance and improving how we manage our limited water supply.”

Find out more at

CFWC radio ads hit the airwaves

From October 7 through November 23, California residents will be hearing about farm water and the need to fix the state’s ailing water supply system.  The 30 and 60-second ads discuss the current water supply shortage as well as the legal and regulatory causes behind this year’s round of cuts that indled over 100,000 acres of farmland.

Agriculture is an important part of our economy and culture and when supplies are short, whether it’s because of a regulatory or natural drought, people lose their jobs and the economy of the state suffers.

Contact your elected representatives in Sacramento and Washington, DC and tell tham to fix California’s broken water supply system.  We need new reservoirs and a better way to move water through the Delta that protects water users and the farms that grow our food.

Listen to the CFWC radio ad here:

cfwc radio 2008 sc 60 final_1-2

Land fallowing and retirement

Peter Gleick of the Pacific Institute, on the Capitol Public Radio Show "Insight," today (Thursday, September 25, 2008) denied that land fallowing is a recommendation in their new advocacy report "More with Less."  When questioned about the language in the report advocating large-scale land fallowing in the San Joaquin Valley, Gleick seemed to bristle and said the report doesn’t recommend that.

However, on page seven of the Executive Summary the report states, "Planned short-term fallowing of 10% of the field crop acreage would save 1.7 million acre-feet of water and provide revenue for capital and other needed improvements.  Furthermore, permanently retiring 1.3 million acres of drainage impaired lands in the San Joaquin Valley would save 3.9 million acre-feet of water per year, while also reducing clean-up costs and minimizing the social and environmental impacts associated with polluted surface and groundwater."

Listen to the clip here:   (40 sec., 776k)

Later in the full body of the report, pages 39 and 40 repeat much of the same language except the numbers are higher, suggesting that 1.5 million acres of permanent land retirement would save 4.6 million acre-feet of water per year.

To put that impact into perspective, water shortages this year led to fallowing of more than 100,000 acres and the loss of over 1,000 full-time jobs.  "More with Less" suggests retirement of many more times that number of acres and says any job losses and local community impacts from land fallowing or retirement should be "mitigated," but it doesn’t say how.

Meanhile, innovative farmers have found ways to farm those lands profitably, reducing or eliminating impacts on soil productivity and keeping productive lands growing food for consumers around the world.

The report does contain sensible recommendations for public investment in items such as improved irrigation technology, something many farmers currently find unaffordable.  CFWC acknowlegdes these financial barriers and supports efforts to bridge that gap.

Listen to the full program here: (12 min., 14.5mb)

Audio clips from the program "Insight" provided with permission from Capitol Public Radio/KXJZ.


"Jobs" discusses how the agriculture industry provides a large amount of
employment in the state and how farm dollars help support the community.

Healthy Food and Environment

"Healthy Food and Environment" discusses food safety, how farmers support the
environment and that the San Joaquin River is important to the agriculture industry.