The statement by CEO/Executive Director Ryan Jacobsen:
“Today’s announcement of an initial 0 percent water allocation for Fresno County federal water contractors will greatly affect its $6.58 billion (2012) agriculture industry.
“This allocation will force farmers to idle a large amount of acreage, which would have generated jobs, value added food products that stimulate significant economic activity for the county and region, as well as a safe, wholesome, affordable food supply for consumers throughout the United States and abroad. Farmers manage water as efficiently as possible to grow crops, but the consumer is the ultimate beneficiary of that water.
“Moreover, this issue isn’t just limited to the county’s west side; the 0 percent allocation to farmers in the Friant Unit will significantly impact production along the east side, as well.
“This drought is not just driven by Mother Nature; additionally, it’s a regulatory drought. For instance, a year ago, 815,000 acre-feet of water were released to the ocean due to the discretionary actions of federal fishery agencies.
“Agriculture in Fresno County and California’s Central Valley is a strategic resource for the state and nation. Agriculture is the economic engine that drives the Valley and water is the fuel for that engine. Water means jobs and food. Without a reliable water supply, Fresno County’s number one employer — agriculture — is at great risk.
“Fresno County Farm Bureau calls for all community members to push for additional surface water and groundwater storage, improved conveyance through the state, and a return to common-sense water policies that bring back into balance water allocated for food production, municipal and rural communities, the economy and the environment.”