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Voice: Not all farmers support the bad idea of fallowing

February 11, 2002

There seems to be a misunderstanding here in Imperial Valley as to who owns the water. Philip Ricker pretty well straightened that out in a letter to your paper. However, a couple of farmer friends of mine asked me to clear up a couple of matters.

First of all, farmers buy water from the IID. They don't own any water until they buy it. There is nothing in their deeds that give them any specific rights to water. Many farmers have installed concrete-lined ditches on their farms to facilitate the movement of water and this helps to save water because the water doesn't sink into the soil along the ditches and the farmers save money because they don't have to buy as much water. This is a cost-effective idea.

Yes, there are farmers who want to get paid for fallowing their land. That means that they will not plant crops and they want to be financially reimbursed for the water that they would have used if they had planted a crop. My farming friends feel that this is both immoral and not a good economical policy for Imperial Valley. If you don't plant a crop you don't need people and we already have more unemployed people in this county than anyone else has. And why should we put farmers on, what amounts to, corporate welfare and pay them for doing nothing?

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Fallowing, to sell water, is not practical and this should not be allowed. If we quit using our water to farm and allow our water to be moved and used elsewhere, Imperial Valley will eventually become all desert again and basically uninhabitable. Sell water, but only sell extra water that we have. Don't quit farming to accumulate water to sell.

RAY NAUD

El Centro

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