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University of California
Farming in the Foothills
FRI, MAR 24 2017
22:54:43
Comments:
by Ed Garrett
on January 25, 2014 at 12:45 AM
Having sold my own flock many years ago but for different reasons, I can understand your sense of loss and appreciate you focusing on the efforts needed to build up the genetics. Too few people understand that breeders don't just call up the manufacturer to get a new flock or herd of replacements. It takes decades and generations of selective management to provide the right combinations of traits to make an economically efficient enterprise.  
 
I do hope that California finally starts to "get it" though and sees the drying up of the Sacramento and Central Valleys as part of the issue. Especially since we have moved from overwintering sugar beets and introduced pre-made beds and roundup to have warm clean soils for early spring transplanting, we can't expect to see significant water cycles locally and the extent of our engineering probably has an impact regionally if not nationally as well.  
 
In our hast to drain the valleys by encouraging runoff in lowlands, and our "prudence" to hold runoff in place for future use in higher elevations, we have altered one of the great natural cycles at our own expense. Yes, there is a decline in the dense tule fog, but without the green winter fields in the valley, there is no chance to contribute to localized weather - holding onto ground moisture transpired by the plants and "recycling" it (effectively moving it from lower moisture strata to the surface layers of the soil where the greater proportion of plant roots are) or for this to create the localized events such as low clouds and mist that once characterized much of the California winter weather and helped hydrate plants up to 2000 or 3000 feet in elevation.  
 
Global scale contributions to climate change haven't helped, but California has been designing this disaster for many decades with our "advanced" agriculture and concentration on making people "safe" in habitually flood prone areas. There has been no water to waste on "efficient" agronomic practices, but we forgot to remember we live and work within systems instead of discrete areas. I am sorry for your loss.
 
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