From NY Times - Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012
Coalition response...Writer Mark Bittman should be commended for his efforts to try and learn about food production in California's San Joaquin Valley. Unfortunately he started with some assumptions that were off-base and drew conclusions that would have us adopting a Soviet-style collective farming model that is a proven failure. His statement that federal money pays for much of the irrigation systems is just plain wrong. The federal government took the lead in constructing those projects but it is the water user that is paying for all of the construction, operation and maintenance costs of the system. The only part forgiven by the government is the interest on the original cost of construction. Amazingly, as far back as 1980 new tax revenue generated as a result of the federal Central Valley Project was a whopping $3 billion per year, totaling $28.4 billion, which has since dwarfed the original $10 billion in construction costs.
Who benefits from this? Consumers who buy food for their families at the grocery store, that's who. Their purchasing decisions drive the decisions farmers make on what to plant. That, coupled with efficient farming practices, translates into lower food costs for Americans. We spend just 6.2 percent of our disposable income on food and non-alcoholic beverages, compared to 10.2 percent for families in 28 other high-income countries. At the same 10.2 percent, Americans would have to spend an additional $3,820 per year on food, robbing dollars from other items in their lives, such as little league or dance lessons, vacations, housing and even charitable giving.
Central planning didn't feed the people in Soviet Russia and it won't feed us here in the United States. The federal government helped kick-start production of the nation's food supply but it is the farmers that are paying for that system and growing the kinds of fruit and vegetables consumers have demonstrated that they want in the store on a year-round basis.
By Damien M. Schiff
From Pacific Legal Foundation - Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012
From Capital Press - Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012
By Mark McLaughlin
From Sierra Sun - Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012
From ACWA - Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012
From LA Times - Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012