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Farmers key to local economy

April 30, 2008, Herald and News letter by Warren Haught, Malin
Farmers in the Klamath Basin may well save the local economy from disaster during the next two or three years.

    Because of a world shortage of wheat, and because most of our corn is going to ethanol, all other commodity prices have adjusted upward as well. Fertilizer, fuel, electricity, parts, labor and equipment are way up.

    Farmers will not realize the profit they should, but they will cause a whale of a lot of money to circulate through the economy.

    Grain, potatoes, hay, cattle, dairy and specialty crops should all be out of sight. Every available acre will be planted. Government farm lease prices and land rent have set records.

    The fly in the ointment is irrigation water. The lake level is already low and the Bureau of Reclamation does not expect it to fill. Keeping the lake level low in expectation of a big snow melt did not materialize. Freezing night and dry, windy weather have not helped.

    What to do? Sucker fish and a few salmon that may or may not come up the creek will not feed the masses or pay the rent. We have to slow the rate of water flooding down river, at least for the near future.

    If there is any validity to global warming, the oceans are already rising, so water from the Klamath watershed is not needed there. Everyone must pull together if we hope to save our economy.

Warren Haught


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