Farming’s big economic benefit

Regarding the front-page headline in the Sunday Enterprise — “Report: Flooding may sink farming” — I am forever astonished at the lack of common sense regarding agriculture.

Yolo County, as well as other counties through which the bypass is located, has had a history of the bypass being farmed, mostly for rice in Yolo, but that practice is heavily dependent on whether the ground is dry enough to work and to plant. Wet land cannot be worked — equipment gets stuck. We have all seen equipment stranded in the bypass.

If the bypass has had a long period of flooding or standing water, the ground is actually supersaturated (it will not absorb more water) and therefore the water “stands” on the soil. If no more water is added, eventually the standing water drains and is absorbed and the ground becomes dry enough to work and to plant.

Crops have a “last date to plant,” after which the crop will not mature in time to harvest before the weather makes it impossible to get the crop out of the field.

Every farmer knows that nothing is set in stone when it comes to farming. Farming in the bypass can be a cast of the dice. Add extended purposeful flooding for whatever reason and you lose the farming opportunity and all of the economic domino effect.

It is interesting to note that it took a report from UC Davis to alert the powers that be to a problem that any farmer who has ever farmed in or near the bypass, or farms rice elsewhere, knows well. It should be remembered that UCD was founded as a land-grant college for the purpose to serve agriculture.

Every dollar derived from farmers farming is multiplied many times over. Stifle farming and the farmers’ ability to farm and the result will be catastrophic. The sad part is that much of the regulations and legislation are pushed by those with rose-tinted glasses and those living in urban areas with no clue of the real world of farming and what benefits they derive from farmers farming.

Vernette Marsh

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