Time to Take Action
Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.

Agriculture does a lot for wildlife, environment, Herald and News article by guest columnist Rick Woodley, district manager of the Klamath Soil and Water Conservation District.
 January 17, 2005


 It is interesting to note that while self-titled "environmental" groups complain and file lawsuits, it is the local farmers and ranchers who actually spend their own resources to enhance our Klamath Basin.

Since reclamation started, agricultural water use is considerably less than the amount of water that evaporated in "historic times" and, in most cases, water quality has been significantly improved and wildlife habitat has been greatly increased.

Our nation has been built from the ground up on agriculture, but now, through poor trade policies and cheap, uncertified food from foreign lands, it appears that the importance of our nation's food supply has dwindled, at least according to the population centers of this country that have lost touch with the reality of agriculture and how they relate to food production.

I firmly believe agriculture must be held to a high standard. America must have a stable, clean and disease-free food source to draw from. A growing number of the members of the general public are not concerned or educated about where their food supply comes from, or what nation supplies it. Americans have grown complacent and are accustomed to inexpensive food supplies.

They are generally unaware of the regulations concerning chemical or pesticide use and where and how it is applied.

If more Americans were made aware that much of the produce entering this country is grown without health and safety regulations, they would very well demand that only American-grown food be displayed and sold in the supermarkets, or at the very least that they have the option to buy home-grown food.

Time, cash poorly spent

Apparently the "environmental" community would sacrifice the health and welfare of our nation to condemn the very practices that made our nation the greatest on Earth. Those who scream the loudest and are the most disruptive forces in the Klamath Basin spend virtually none of their own money to promote conservation practices. Instead, they use capital funding from outside sources to fight landowners.

Common sense tells us that if these self-appointed and self-serving "environmental" groups would spend their time and money working with local landowners on the enhancement of land use, which includes wildlife and fish habitat, and stop wasting valuable funds on frivolous lawsuits and contentious behavior, there would be no end to what could be accomplished.

Local landowners and conservation groups have spent multi-millions of dollars and uncountable hours making this Klamath Basin a much more hospitable place to live than in "historic times."

The vast majority of people in the Klamath Basin live, work, raise families and own property here because of the well-managed farms and ranches that provide abundant wildlife generally unmatched anywhere in the country, while providing quality and safe agriculture products for people.

Special-interest and environmental groups claim they want "pristine" surroundings and historic habitat.

While this may very well be a noble goal, they want these things only after they have their log house in the woods and preferably beside a creek or lake.

When they have achieved their dreams, they vigorously attempt to run everyone else off and call themselves "stewards of the land." They have never personally milked a cow - or even know what to tug on to do so - nor have they ever grown a vegetable garden, but many of the environmental groups demand to have a say on how farmers and ranchers work their lands. They feel free to cuss cows, but wear leather shoes and eat beef.

Banning all pesticides by the farmers is important to their cause, (except the can of bug pray they use for their comfort), but they don't want the price, quality or quantity of their food to change.

The use of steer manure is great on their lawns, but not on other lands. The possibility of fertilizer runoff from farms and ranches is a national disgrace, but the use of the fertilizer in any form is OK for golf courses. The list is endless of their claims and charges, but bottom line is they want to complain and collect those charitable donations, but not contribute to maintaining and preserving habitat.

One of the major reasons that watershed problems in the Klamath Basin and across the nation are not being quickly solved is that people attack people instead of attacking the problem.

Too much process

Another significant stumbling block is instead of actually getting the work done on the ground, many of the agencies which are able to effect the changes needed are more interested with the process leading up to getting work accomplished. The "process" so often has become more important than the solution.

America is out of frontiers to conquer or settle, we can't go any farther west. We have to use and protect what land we have - there is no more.

American food producers have been kicked below the belt, and when they are bent over in pain, their wallets are taken from their pockets.

Then they are forced by the court system to sit down and talk with those self-serving special-interest groups that claim they know how to solve water quality and water quantity problems while they eat a warm and safe meal. With this type of system in place, poor decisions are often the direct result. These decisions don't provide either abundant or clean water, and frequently place economic hardship on entire communities.

I think it is time to reward the American farmers and ranchers financially for providing products that are safe for our families to eat. Remember, "The safest food for your family to eat is grown closest to your own table."






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