Water continues to be an emotional topic in California, with those outside of the agricultural industry often misunderstanding how farmers and ranchers are using water. Even those who outwardly want to support the farming community may not be well-informed enough to know what the industry truly needs to maintain success.
“They envision that everything is done by the small farmer when they go to the farmers market and they believe that their actions are worthy of supporting those, but those actions have the opposite effect,” said Fresno County Agricultural Commissioner Les Wright. “It’s just a real misconception of the urban voter, what it takes to produce food for this nation.”
Wright noted that increasing restriction on farm water is pushing the industry to further consolidate, putting a squeeze on smaller farming operations in the process. “The small farmer can’t compete anymore. They don’t have enough ground to get the water that they need, and more and more land is being bought up by large corporations where they can fallow a side and move that water to an area and produce.”