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California – Caught in a Frightening Overshoot

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Touch the Soil News # 183 Overshoot is a condition in which consumption of resources “overshoots” the availability of resources. In the case of California, the overshoot relates to water consumption. Following are a few updates on the California Drought as of 9/1/2015: NASA research shows that increased groundwater pumping – what Californian’s are doing to offset the lack of snow and rain – is causing widespread land subsidence in the San Joaquin Valley. Subsidence means the land is dropping in elevation as the water underneath is permanently withdrawn. Some areas in the San Joaquin Valley are sinking two inches per month. Approximately 2,225 wells have been identified as critical…

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Dangers of Large-Scale Farming – 7,000 People Without Running Water

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Touch the Soil News # 181 The standard economic plan – for centuries – has been one of producing something to sell focusing on the financial cost and not the environmental cost. After decades of intensive farming in California’s Central Valley, a different realization has come home to roost. The area’s water was being exported in the form of food. For decades, the area has depended upon taking more water out of the ground that was being replenished in order to sustain agricultural production. The California drought just escalated the speed at which groundwater was withdrawn in excess of replenishment. The community of East Porterville in Tulare County, California is…

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Almonds & Farmland – Hang On to Your Checkbook

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Touch the Soil News # 178 One of the trends we like to follow is how Wall Street is warming up to farmland. Gladstone Land Corporation is a publically traded company NASDAQ: LAND. Gladstone’s field of operations is in purchasing farmland and leasing it back to pre-qualified farmers. Last week, Gladstone announced it purchased three irrigated farms in Kern County, California for $19 million. The three farms make up a total of 850 acres – that’s a whopping $22,350 per acre. But that’s just the beginning. The farms are presently in wine grapes, which will be removed. The leasing farmer is going to convert the land to Almond orchards. Gladstone…

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Egg Conundrum

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Touch the Soil News # 135 Consumer pressure to make egg production more humane resulted in a watershed law in California last year. California laws required that on January 1, 2015, any eggs sold in California must come from hens that have at least 116 square inches of floor space – a 73 percent increase over common practices. Egg industry experts estimated that many egg laying enterprises will enlarge the spaces in order to be able to sell in California, but may reduce the number of hens they have. One estimate is that the California law might precipitate the culling of 10 million hens. Unanticipated, however, is the roughly 50…

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Is the Time Coming to Think Big?

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Touch the Soil News # 129 We’ve all seen news of drought stricken third world countries. Heck, over 2 billion people today lack access to sufficient water for even personal and drinking water needs. In the U.S., pumping technology has afforded present generations the opportunity to side-step severe water shortages, for now. Hidden below the surface pumps are underground water aquifers that are dropping faster than they are recharging. California is in a fight for its life, The combination of drought and over-pumping have brought water austerity to one of the most economically developed regions in the world. And California is not alone. Ogallala Aquifer located in the central part…

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“Irrigation Subsidence” – Is This the Makings of a Hollywood Thriller?

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Touch the Soil News #106  –  includes 1 info graphic and 2 videos With California providing over 50 percent of the nation’s primary fruit and vegetables, water will be directed towards fruit and veggie production at the expense of other crops. Some of the crops getting the ax include alfalfa (hay), rice, cotton, wheat and barley. American consumers will see short-term benefits from this water allocation in that increases in the price of our fresh fruits and vegetables is forecast to be modest this year. However, in California proper, there will be around 560,000 acres fallowed (not farmed) and a loss of around 19,000 jobs. See (info graphic #1) below…

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San Diego – Where the Future of Gardening Will Follow the Future of Water Desalination

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Fortunately, due to the importance of food gardens both physically and philosophically in California, there have been no reported prohibitions for water use on vegetable gardens. However, this doesn’t apply to lawns, overall household water limitations or escalations in the cost of water. According to the San Diego County Water Authority, San Diego is one of the worst hit in terms of curtailing public water. While other cities are limiting watering of lawns to 3 days a week and 10 minutes per watering. San Diego has curtailed lawn watering to two days per week. Opulent residences with large lawns are facing dramatic curtailments. San Diego residents are starting to get…

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