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Wednesday
Feb152017

POLITICS (National, State, Local/San Joaquin Valley): Donald Trump presidency, water, agriculture, San Joaquin Valley?: Commentary (Robin Abcarian), "In the Central Valley, drought fears ease, but farmers content with a new threat: Trump" ....  

* Los Angeles Times (Robin Abcarian):  "In the Central Valley, drought fears ease, but farmers contend with a new threat: Trump" - From the LAT:

It’s almost impossible to get a rise from my favorite farmer, Joe Del Bosque, who grows almonds, melons and asparagus here on the perpetually water-challenged west side of the San Joaquin Valley.

After years of drought, suddenly everything is green. It’s raining like crazy, the infamous pumps of the Sacramento Delta are working overtime to fill reservoirs to the south and all over the state, dry fields have become muddy lakes. 

“So what are you Westside farmers whining about now?” I asked Del Bosque when I visited him Monday in his office, a modest double-wide trailer on the edge of an almond orchard off Interstate 5. He chuckled. Farmers are always complaining about something. If they aren’t complaining, it’s because they’re too busy worrying. 

Del Bosque is, as usual, worried about water. But he’s also worried about immigration, and about President Trump’s vow to deport people who are here illegally. Del Bosque, and just about every grower he knows, depends on migrant labor for harvests. “We need a workforce,” he said. “We can’t have immigration come here and round everyone up and deport them. Coupled with building a wall, it will ruin us. It will ruin the whole fruit and vegetable industry.”

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San Joaquin Valley growers tend to be politically conservative. Many were enchanted when Donald Trump came to Fresno last May and announced “there’s no drought,” playing right into their favorite narrative: If the government (abetted by environmentalists) didn’t insist on shutting off the Delta pumps, there would be plenty of water for agriculture.

“A lot of farmers liked that he said that,” Del Bosque said. “Of course we’ve been in a natural drought, but yeah, there’s some regulations that are making it worse, and maybe that’s what he was talking about.” But even if they liked Trump’s stance on water, his harsh immigration policies — and vows to deport people in the country illegally — could make harvesting the fields impossible. “I think a lot of them thought he was just blowing smoke,” Del Bosque said. And then, of course, Trump assumed office.

California agriculture simply cannot work without migrant labor ..................