The World Needs Irrigation
By Paul H. Betancourt
Copyright May 2012
At a recent regional economic summit, Dr. Robert Whample from Fresno State said, 50% of our food is grown on 16%of the land-the irrigated land. Did you catch that? The majority of our food is grown on the minority of our land!
As a farmer I have enough trouble with bugs, weeds and weather as variables. Irrigation allows me control in an important variable-water. For example- irrigating my wheat I can average over 3 ½ tons per acre. When neighbors try to grow dryland wheat, their yields don’t come even close to a ton per acre-in wet years. Yields get worse in dry years. So, it’s not surprising we grow 50% of our food on 16% of our acres. Irrigation works.
Irrigation is criticized by the environmental community. While I understand their concerns, the fact is we need more irrigation, not less. We have more people and less farm land every year. We now have over 7 billion people on the planet and projections have us getting to 9 billion before numbers level off. We need to make each acre of land more productive not less productive. The world needs irrigation. The world needs what we do here in the Valley.
California Forward Regional Economic Summit
March 29, 2012