Commentary: Limits on ag irrigation subsidies
The Times editorial explained how a couple congressmen and the Environmental Working Group think that farmers should be limited in their free enterprise decisions if they accept government assistance in water efficiency. Basically, it appears that they want farmers who accept assistance to make their irrigation more efficient to be required to lower their water use and not install additional irrigation systems.
Living near a major irrigation area of the U.S., the Kansas City urban area, I’d have a hard time sitting on a water board basically telling some farmers to give up farming because irrigation water isn’t available to them but it is to the farmer across the road who inherited water rights.
When I drove from Kansas City to Sioux Falls, S.D., last week, I saw a large number of shiny, new looking pivots from Sioux Falls to Sioux City, Iowa. When I talked to a liquid fertilizer company employee, he explained that farmers had decided the insurance of a high-functioning pivot was necessary with the threat of more drought in years to come.
Water use for agriculture is a necessity to meet the goals of growing additional volumes of crops in the future, and there are no easy answers to how that water is allocated between rural and urban areas and to which farmers.
But my guess is that government assistance to install new efficient pivot irrigation equipment is going to end.
Click here to read the New York Times op-ed
Click here to view the full letter response to the op-ed.