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By Nancy Cameron
Shasta County Farm Bureau:
I am writing on behalf of the agricultural producers of Happy Valley, a small rural community west of Anderson. We have just received notice that the Bureau of Reclamation will be cutting our contracted 15,000 acre-feet of agriculture water to 0 and our domestic water to 50% unless we receive substantial rainfall over the next month, in which case they may allot us 25% for agriculture and 75% for domestic.
While I understand the drought situation we are experiencing, I cannot comprehend the need to jeopardize health, safety, food supply, environment and the livelihoods of so many people. There are 570 agricultural water users in the Clear Creek Community Service District; 43 of these users are direct sales to the public as members of the Happy Valley Farm Trail, with the remainder ranging from personal food supply to large livestock producers. For over 14 years I have raised hogs, Boer (meat) goats and Columbia sheep at this location and market the meat at local farmers’ markets. With the cost of feed and alfalfa on the rise I have been more and more dependent on pasture-feeding my animals. With no water there will be no pasture. With no water I will have 10 acres of dry land waiting to fuel the next fire and no way to protect myself when the fires come. With no water there will be no cover for the wildlife currently dwelling on my acreage. This wildlife includes covey of quail, pheasants, mallard ducks, deer and Canada geese. Are they of less importance than the animals on preserves?
I will be forced to cut my herds in size if I hope to survive but even this action may not be enough to get me though a dry North State summer as I will not only be buying hay to feed but will have to seek an alternate source of drinking water. It is truly a sad situation to so heavily support environment and wildlife that it forces man and domestic livestock to perish.
I know that Shasta County Farm Bureau will continue to fight for the water rights of our community and I support your efforts to save our water and our rights to pursue agriculture as a way of life.
C & C Farms