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Do we really need a high speed rail?

27 Nov

Growing up in the Central Valley (California to be exalt) we have always valued the farm land that was spread around our small town. However about 10 years ago (roughly) there was a proposition for a high speed rail, basically just a really fast train, which at first would run in between Fresno and Bakersfield. However the grand idea would that connect two major metropolitan cites, San Francisco and L.A., and would provide more job opportunities.

However well the initial intentions of the High Speed Rail (HSR) might of been, it wasn’t clearly thought out. And here is some of my bigger issues with the train:

  • The majority of the audience, aka the Central California residents, weren’t in favor of the train.
  • The route of HSR keeps changing, and there still isn’t a definitive route
  • The current plan of HSR calls for constructing to go through nearly 400 homes and the relocation of almost 400 “commercial or industrial businesses
  • The overall cost of the train is 68 billion
  • A planned hit in agriculture revenue of about 34 million, and a lost of 340 job from production farming
  • there will be a permeant loss of 3,500 acres of “important” farmland
  • In addition to 1600 acres “temporally disrupted” during the building of the HSR

The major thing is that no one thought to educate individuals about the HSR, instead of talking to people about the trail officials just announced how they expected things to be done. If they had taken the time to educate people and make informed decisions about planning maybe we wouldn’t have the current PR nightmare on our hands. Officials rushed to proclaimed the benefits of the HSR, although with current financial trouble can we afford to finance another project?

Right now we are in one of the biggest droughts in California, but instead of addressing that issue Californians are caught up with the idea of a train. I don’t debate that the HSR could of been a great tool for California, but with the physical and political climate is now the right time to be pushing for a train? The facts are that we don’t need a fancy train, but we will always need “important” agriculture land.

Have a good thanksgiving,

Kristen

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The 30 Day Blog Challenge: The Shrinking of Agriculture land (Take Two)

10 Nov

Yesterday I brought up the issue of agriculture land consumption. As I illustrated yesterday agriculture is of vital importance to California, hopefully (knock on wood and throw salt over your shoulder for rain) we will be able to be in full production for the following year.

Thompson (Edward From Farmland Trust, California Agriculture Land Loss & Conservation: The Basic Facts) states that “Consumption of the best farmland is occurring primarily because most California cities were located in areas with good soils and abundant water, and most development is now occurring on the immediate urban fringe.” California has some of the best soil in the nation, with a excellent climate that encourages a one of the largest agriculture production states in the nation.

Further more we are losing agriculture land rapidly. “If current development trends continue, 1.3 million acres of California agricultural land, including 670,000 acres of prime, unique and statewide important farmland, will be developed by 2050” further elaborated Thompson. “For irrigated cropland alone, this would entail an annual loss of an estimated $2 billion in agricultural production in current farm gate dollars.”

In fact if California were its own country it would produce between fifth and ninth out of the nations in the world according to Richard Cornett of the Western Farm Press. In fact Cornett explains, “California’s agricultural exports reached an all-time high of $10.9 billion in 2007, and exported agricultural products to more than 156 countries worldwide.”

Losing agriculture land is a huge issue, although knowledge about the agriculture land loss is the first step to fixing the issue.

Tomorrow I planned interview with Chico State Student Kelly Pedrotti about dairy goat production.

Till then have a excellent night.

Kristen

30 Day Blog Challenge: The Shrinking of Agriculture Land

9 Nov

Agriculture Land is shrinking in America, every day land is being redeveloped for shopping malls, new houses, or new schools. Every day America, the home of the brave, is growing rapidly.

According Edward Thompson who wrote the California Agriculture Land Loss & Conservation: The Basic Facts states “that since 1990 urban development has consumed an acre of land for every 9.4 people statewide. (Referring to California) In the San Joaquin Valley, the rate is for every 8 people.”

The facts are that while people are leaving California right now there is still a major population that is expanding rapidly.

“Development is consuming an 40,000 acres of agricultural land per year” elaborates Thompson. “In the San Joaquin Valley, which accounts for over half of California’s total agricultural output, more than 60 percent of all land developed was prime, unique or of statewide importance to agriculture “

With all this rapid consumption of land, why is it important to keep agriculture land from being developed:

  • “21 million American jobs have their root in the U.S. food and fiber industry—more than five times as many workers as the U.S. automotive manufacturing, sales and service sectors combined. Source: American Farm Bureau Federation, Dept. of Labor”
  • “Agricultural exports alone generated 920,000 the non-farm sector in 2008.Source: USDA”
  • “With reference to the combined agricultural production and processing industry, for every $1 of direct labor income in agriculture, $1.27 additional labor income is generated in the state.” Source: Cornett, Richard Western Farm Press

Regardless of the figures above there is the culture and the lifestyles of the farm families that are being destroyed during the process.

Tomorrow I am planning to expand further on agriculture land loss. But in till then have a good night.

Kristen