Favorite quote from this is "Whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting over." Additionally, I think that the water will all go to development at the expense of farmland. It is what the State considers the "public good."
Here is a great article on the soon to be rising cost of cotton goods to the consumer.
One part of our daily farm life that I haven't mentioned because I try to keep it positive is what it is like living on open land close to the Mexican border.
A rancher down South was murdered in cold blood while checking fence and water. The killer was tracked to Mexico and is believed to be a human or drug smuggler. See story here. I did not personally know this man but I feel so very deeply for his family. You see that could have been my husband killed. But for the grace of God go I is all I could think. Every time my husband goes out to see who is at the barn or running through fences in the middle of the night, or heck in the middle of the day, I pray he returns. I have played out what happened to Mr. Krentz over and over in my mind and prayed for protection.
Sadly, like a frog being boiled slowly to death, you get used to the danger. You learn to live with it. The only option is to sell out and move to a non-border state. Our federal government refuses to enforce immigration laws and seal the border. I wonder if Washington DC was on the border if somehow our lawless border would get more attention.
A neighboring vegetable grower by us turned in some human smugglers who were dumping folks on his farm. He received death threats and had to farm armed for protection. I do not know of a ranch family this could not have happened to. It is not just the Rancher that is in danger it is the children who live on these ranches that are caught in the middle of this violence too. Does one give up the rights of an American citizen by farming and ranching in Arizona? Should these families lives and livelihoods not be protected before the so called rights of illegal aliens? This lawlessness on the border has to stop.
I guess the sign above riddled with bullet holes wasn't kidding.
Here is an excerpt from an email I got from my dear friend who is a neighboring rancher.
"The truth is, being a border rancher (30 miles from the border), this could have happened to any one of my family or other neighbors. It is a tragedy and with this tragedy, my hope is people will start to listen. Please write to your congress representative and your senators to get the border sealed. Allow us ranchers to keep ranching knowing that illegals will not be a part of our daily routine (YES, DAILY!) We appreciate any of you that would do this..
There is also something you can do for the family if you so desire. WELLS FARGO has started a MEMORIAL FUND FOR ROBERT KRENTZ. This money will go to the family for any expenses they will incur."
We just returned from one of the formal hearings before the EPA designates our county as a nonattainment area for dust. Oddly, even though everyone in our county will be effected by another layer of regulations and fines for noncompliance, the audience was made up of 90% farmers and ranchers. For the most part the meeting was about how this will effect all of us and trying to reach attainment while doing the least harm to our county.
However, one lady used her comment time to tell all us aggies in the audience how we are dirty, our cows stink and we kill children for profit. That none of us should be allowed to farm here since people from other states have moved here and now they cannot even go outside because of all our dirty farmland. I saw her light up a cigarette after the meeting, BTW.
While we have come a long way technologically, we still have to use dirt to produce food and fiber. Grocery stores don't make the food they sell. Most of us actually like children alot. We donate school sites, run 4-H clubs, serve on school boards and raise healthy children - even in the dirt and farm doo. Dirt don't hurt.
Anyway, after being just hammered by this woman's rant, no one interrupted her, no one was rude to her, they just let her say her peace. I cannot think of another group who takes such abuse and turns the other cheek. I did notice a bit of sadness and disbelief in the audience though.
I have worked in the ag industry as a woman, a farmer, and an attorney and I can say that farmers and ranchers as a group are the truest gentlemen/gentlewomen I have ever known. They are decent and hardworking, and if protecting their way of life, which believe me is not about the money, makes them bad then we really need to rethink our priorities in this country.
I thank God that the food my family eats is produced by trustworthy, steady, intelligent American farm families and not politicians and misguided urbanites who try to live in germ free bubbles that are not based on any reality. It is awful easy to criticize those whose hands do the dirty work that makes a clean and sterile life possible.
It will be a challenge to meet the guidelines handed down by the EPA for Pinal County. In a nutshell we must all work together to make our air as dust free as is Maine's and Manhattans. No problem. Will do.
This was taken during a dust storm in which dust travels from 100s of miles away and lands on us. Ever see that in Manhattan?
Well, if all else fails and we still have dirt in the desert we can just pave over the ag land and write more tickets.
We are now actively marketing our cotton. We definitely had a bumper crop with an average of 4.37 bales per acre first picking. That may or not make a profit depending on the cotton market. Cotton is sold on the open world commodities market which is a very volatile market. It is affected by consumer demand for cotton, world cotton production or lack thereof, investor speculation as people move in and out of the stock market and other investments, and China.
China? China has the power to completely change the world price for cotton just by buying or not buying cotton. It is my understanding, that they have one minister who is charge of the nation's cotton. Remember they are not a capitalist free society. One guy has the power to buy and sell for the nation. When he makes a move the market moves. China because of its population consumes a huge percent of the world's cotton. It also mills a huge percentage of the world's cotton and sells it to the world in the form of textiles.
The American South and Great Britain used to be milling most of this cotton, but now, most of the mills have closed down unable to compete with cheap labor and unfair labor practices. As growers we do not have control over who buys our cotton - think selling stock on the stock market. As consumers we do.
It bothers me a great deal to buy goods made with unfair labor practices that take away American jobs. I try to vote with my dollars. Read labels and try to buy American. If not American than made in a country that values human rights and is in line with my values. I am willing to pay a bit more and have a little less if it supports my nation and my fellow Americans. This is American stimulus that really works. If I can't find or afford new American made I look for used versions and meanwhile helping charities such as Salvation Army or St. Vincent de Paul. Sadly, more and more I am finding there is no longer a choice for many of the things we buy.
With the Christmas buying season upon us, and constantly watching the cotton market this seems to be my November soap box of choice. Next time you make a purchase think about what your dollars are voting for.
"A bale of cotton ain't worth very much, at least when you are trying to sell." Charlie Pride, Mississippi Cotton Pickin' Delta Town.