How insane Federal policy turned the Breadbasket of the World into the Unemployment Capital of America

by editor on January 18, 2011

You may have noticed – and seriously, how could you have missed it – that food prices are soaring.

It’s not just because increasingly wealthy Indians and Chinese are putting strains on worldwide food production. It’s also because insane Federal policy has destroyed the Breadbasket of the World.

Reason Magazine describes the disaster that has become the California’s Central Valley:

California’s Central Valley is a 450 mile long stretch of flat and fertile land that produces much of the food that we enjoy every day. But the people in small towns like Mendota (the cantaloupe capital of the world) are suffering these days, in part due to two federal policies.



In order to protect a threatened fish species called the Delta Smelt, much of the water that used to be pumped from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to farms on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley is now allowed to flow into the ocean. The result is predictable: hundreds of thousands of acres of farm land lies fallow and tens of thousands of jobs have been lost. In Mendota, the unemployment rate is over 40% and food lines are the norm.


But people going hungry in a region dominated by agriculture is only one of the contradictions in the Central Valley.



Nearly all the valley’s farm workers are immigrants from Mexico and Central America, and many of them are undocumented. These people are crucial to the valley’s economy, but they’re breaking the law according to the federal government.

Watch the video. It will simultaneously break your heart and piss you off.

{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

Wes January 18, 2011 at 9:18 am

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The video was nice until they started talking about making illegal aliens into citizens. I wish I could break the law every day and then get rewarded for it. I guess I have to either become an illegal alien or a banker. Hey, all you immigrants who do things the right way and jump through all the hoops to become a legal citizen, here’s a nice slap in the face from California for you: SLAP!

YT January 18, 2011 at 2:20 pm

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I’m beginning to think that becoming a citizen is the punishment.

What exactly are the benefits vs. running around undocumented? A SSN to tax and track you by? Estate tax when you die? Capital controls if you try to return to Mexico? How do you say “Do not want” in spanish?

RockingHorseGuy January 18, 2011 at 5:17 pm

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You get to vote for Democrats.

hisham January 18, 2011 at 9:27 am

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This film just pissed me off! This is the area of the US where I grew up. Getting rid of the EPA will solve the smelt issue. Getting rid of the United Farm Workers Union would go a long way to solving the “immigrant” issue.

Ruben January 18, 2011 at 9:54 am

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…get rid of the EPA? HISHAM FOR PRESIDENT 2012!!!

And watch the smelt do fine under your leadership!

editor January 18, 2011 at 10:01 am

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We’ll second that motion. Print up the “Hisham 2012″ bumper stickers.

hisham January 18, 2011 at 11:28 pm

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Thanks guys, but you know just as I do that we must have way too much time on our hands to even think that could work…if I get any others to jump on board, I’ll make you two my campaign managers!

Ruben January 19, 2011 at 10:17 am

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I’m in if you’re in!

jukin January 18, 2011 at 9:39 am

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Remember the dire predictions of the members of the Communist Democrat Party of the 70s? There would be no food, the world was going to be ice, etc. Well the food supply increased due to individuals and innovation. This cannot be allowed to happen. Sadly the CDP members can harm food production so that their predictions come true.

The worst part is the orchards that are being destroyed by CDP mandates. The Almond orchards are gone. That is a lot of assets to just plow under to appease the dictates of the CDP leadership.

The great VDH had a very good article on the central valley, Two Californias
http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/255320/two-californias-victor-davis-hanson?page=1

mojo January 18, 2011 at 9:51 am

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Biggest idiocy in the world. And all over the two-inch “delta smelt”.

Delta smelt my ass. It’s a SMELT, and happens to be in the delta. It’s NOT NATIVE, you assholes, some fisherman lost it!

YT January 18, 2011 at 2:22 pm

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Its like Atlas Shrugged in real life. How did that end? Oh crap…

flashingscotsman July 27, 2012 at 9:09 am

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I figure the “delta smelt” is missing out on it’s chance to actually be useful. Go ahead, let them into the irrigation system, and at some point along the line, they’ll go through a pump or two. Finely ground, they are then spread out across the fields, along with the rest of the water. Fertilizer. Delivered. Problem solved, people put back to work, land producing food.

Ruben January 18, 2011 at 9:52 am

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The foolishness of the illegal alien content, notwithstanding, this is great video evidence of what becomes of land sacrificed on the altar of nature worship.

What a fantastic marriage that Marxism and environmentalism enjoy!

Administrator January 18, 2011 at 10:41 am

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While driving to San Francisco a few weeks ago, I tuned into a Central Valley radio station, one of the few I could find in English. I heard a local news story from the Fresno area that stated, good news, thanks to the heavy rainfall so far, Central Valley farmers can expect to receive 50% of the water required to farm their lands this year, double the 25% that had been projected. What constitutes “good news” there shows just how depressed the area is.

The Delta Smelt is to blame. I’m always shocked that this does not get more national attention, considering food prices are a national news topic, and the California Central Valley feeds the nation.

StrinaM January 18, 2011 at 12:35 pm

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And yet they KEEP voting for the idiots to make these smelt-protecting policies… Maybe the area is just filled with Masochists?

flashingscotsman July 27, 2012 at 9:10 am

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Put some nets out, catch the poor little smelts before they get into the irrigation system. There’s gotta be a cat food company that could put them to good use.

RobertW July 27, 2012 at 9:29 am

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or, conversely, meals on wheels, and any number of govt. sanctioned retirement community kitchens.

RobertW July 27, 2012 at 9:31 am

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food from kalifornia?

*sotto voce “get a rope.”

;) picante moment over, please return to normal viewing.

Pittsburgh Z January 18, 2011 at 10:55 am

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Our government at work.

And people laughed at the old coot Reagan for saying, paraphrasing here, that the scariest words in the English language were….”I’m from the government, and I am here to help”.

KimmyQueen January 18, 2011 at 11:15 am

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And people ask me why I have no respect for whacko environmentalists… nor why I despise human on human control… and big government…

It is not natural to put a FISH over the needs of a human being like that guy said on the video.

how many of those fish would equivalent in nutrition to the food that is supposed to be growing?

Or else we are saving the fish, but we aren’t eating the fish right because it is “endangered”? Can anyone say…. insanity?

NO… I don’t agree that illegal immigrants should be given a pass here. Do things right then we can talk about your jobs and what not. Using this to promote legality for illegal immigrants is to me nonsense.

Dr. Georgie July 26, 2012 at 6:42 pm

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Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

RobertW July 27, 2012 at 12:48 am

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no plant has ever stolen, raped gutted exploited murdered sold?
so what makes them any better than us, they’re just as insidious as humans, or animals.
OH wait, you’re anthropomorphizing not only the earth, but all that is therein, which leads me to suspect you’re the self-centered childish one, unable to understand the world beyond what you can see or imagine, in my humble opinion.
Frankly, I don’t think you’re a Doctor at all. And if you are you must not be very observant.

MDLION July 27, 2012 at 9:27 am

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Uh-oh! A fishdolater.

Ray January 18, 2011 at 11:19 am

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The bracero program, abandoned in 1964, allowed around 180,000 workers to travel from Mexico to the U.S. to work in agriculture. When the program ended, workers could no longer travel so they ended up staying in the U.S. illegally where there were jobs.

Red January 18, 2011 at 11:24 am

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“Nearly all the valley’s farm workers are immigrants from Mexico and Central America, and many of them are undocumented. These people are crucial to the valley’s economy, but they’re breaking the law according to the federal government.”

Notice how they turned the article into a pro-illegal alien article.

Paden January 18, 2011 at 12:43 pm

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A few weeks after the Coronation ( inauguration) there was a special aired about the valleys water being turned off, I can’t remember what network but I’ll guess it was fox.
Paul Rodriguez the comedian was a guest, he asked Obama for his “vote back” and said “this isn’t the change he had in mind”.

Elrond Hubbard January 18, 2011 at 1:04 pm

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The Central Valley has essentially become a Third World country where most of the residents are illegal aliens and English is no longer the language spoken by the majority. Many of the small farms and orchards have been abondoned while illegal trailer courts and illegal dumping are spreading. The liberals who live along the Pacific coast and control California remain unaffected and don’t care about the ongoing collapse of a once great state—but they can’t escape the consequences of their ruinous decisions for much longer.

whiskeyriver January 18, 2011 at 2:22 pm

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Here it is the Rio Grande silvery minnow and the Pecos river blunt nosed minnow. I have asked the gestapo agents, excuse me, the state Environmental Protection Agency, what makes them think the minnow has been in either river for millions of years. Prove to me that them minnows are not the offspring of minnows dumped into the river by someone fishing upstream 50 years ago. They cannot answer that question.

Since the Rio Grande and Pecos rivers have never been year round flowing rivers, they go dry for the most part during our rainless summers, why are they trying to drown the little fishies they say they are trying to save? The minnows sense when the water level is dropping and spawn then bury their eggs for the next wet cycle to begin. By trying to regulate water flow, make both rivers run year round, the minnows never feel the need to spawn and continue their life cycle. Are they really interfering with nature instead of helping it? None of the goombahs in the EPA can answer that question either.

I have lived off the land, all farmers and ranchers do, and understand the environment around me much better than some little pencil-necked, pimple headed, college edukated, gooberment clone. The EPA needs to do a little endangered species act of its own. Like in go away, we don’t need you anyway.

Paden January 18, 2011 at 2:41 pm

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If the lefts argument was valid the minnows would have gone extinct 60 years ago when the water was original diverted.

I still think the libs want the land and found a excuse to grab it. My guess is they want to build a huge solar farm on the site.
All that “free” energy the libs keep talking about that cost 3 times as much..

Grammar Fuhrer January 18, 2011 at 5:50 pm

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The Federal policy: Save the environment, kill the people.

Big Al January 19, 2011 at 7:07 am

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Of all the smelts I ever smelt,I never smelt a smelt like that smelt smelt.-Groucho Marx.

Deb January 19, 2011 at 10:02 am

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1) California has had water distribution problems for over a century.
2) The food grown in California looks and smells lovely and tastes like cardboard
3) I thought the Breadbasket of the World was in the plains states!
4) If there is 40% unemployment, and 50% of workers are illegals, then wouldn’t sending the illegals home eliminate the unemployment?
5) And through it all, the illegals are getting screwed as well-they don’t get unemployment, and theoretically no food stamps, Medicaid, Housing assistance or any other benefits. They cannot complain about their jobs (or the lack thereof) because they will get picked up and deported. How is it fair to use them as labor, but leave them in the dirt when the jobs dry up? This is why illegals need to be deported early on, or prevented from entering in the first place. Illegal immigration is unfair to both sides, the legal immigrants who worked their tails off to do it right, the citizens who feel overwhelmed by the number of illegals living here untouched, and the illegal themselves who can never be fully invested in being American.

Ruben January 19, 2011 at 10:27 am

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Per point #s 2 & 3…

#2 – 100% agree, but it seems that is because less-than-fully-ripened fruit and vegetable crops are shipped away from CA and abroad so they do not hit their destinations’ shelves on the backside of fresh. Probably the local stuff was excellent. Do you know, Deb… was it any good in CA? I grew up in Oregon and the “local” stuff we could get in-season at roadside stands was very flavorful.

#3 – You are correct. No region of the world has supplied more grain crops than the Great Plains of the U.S. I think it would be better to call California’s Central Valley “The World’s Cornucopia” for its ability and past success to provide massive fruit and vegetable crops.

flashingscotsman July 27, 2012 at 9:18 am

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The fruits and vegetables still being produced are just fine. Most of the best citrus gets shipped off to Japan, though. If you want a really good orange, you have to go for a walk in an orchard and steal one.

I think a good commercial for Romney would have him standing with a farmer, pointing across all the dusty, empty, dead fields, and saying, “You didn’t build that, government did.”

RobertW July 27, 2012 at 9:34 am

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hey, that’d help owsers cut down on incidents of rickets.

DJ January 19, 2011 at 2:03 pm

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I suppose now it will be time once again for Kalifornia to try and seize the bajillions of gallons of water that flow from the Columbia into the Pacific every second. They tried in the 80′s & 90′s when they were bulldozing the deserts for McMansions and didn’t have a true long term water solution (like when the droughts hit).

I drove through the Central Valley last summer and was stunned at all the dirt fields as far as the eye can see with a rare green patch that was for the fruit and nut trees…I saw the special that Hannity did on it the year before, so nothing had changed.

When food gets astronomical and people start rioting over the shortages, will the politicians maybe pay attention. In the meantime, grow as much of your food as you can, and if you don’t already know how, learn to can. Otherwise, we will be eating most of our food from China and God knows where else…I read the labels and absolutely refuse to buy any food product or fresh produce that is not grown/prepared in the USA.

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