In recent months a crisis situation in the USA food supply has been growing and is about to assume alarming dimensions that could become catastrophic. Atop the existing corona pandemic lockdowns and unemployment, a looming agriculture crisis as well could tip inflation measures to cause a financial crisis as interest rates rise. The ingredients are many, but central is asevere drought in key growing states of the Dakotas and Southwest, including agriculture-intensive California. So far Washington has done disturbingly little to address the crisis and California Water Board officials have been making the crisis far worse by draining the state water reservoirs…into the ocean.
So far the worst hit farm state is North Dakota which grows most of the nation’s Red Spring Wheat. In the Upper Midwest, the Northern Plains states and the Prairie provinces of Canada winter brought far too little snow following a 2020 exceedingly dry summer. The result is drought from Manitoba Canada to the Northern USA Plains States. This hits farmers in the region just four years after a flash drought in 2017 arrived without early warning and devastated the US Northern Great Plains region comprising Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and the adjacent Canadian Prairies.
As of May 27, according to Adnan Akyuz, State Climatologist, ninety-three percent of the North Dakota state is in at least a Severe Drought category, and 77% of the state is in an Extreme Drought category. Farm organizations predict unless the rainfall changes dramatically in the coming weeks, the harvest of wheat widely used for pasta and flour will be a disaster. The extreme dry conditions extend north of the Dakota border into Manitoba, Canada, another major grain and farming region, especially for wheat and corn. There, the lack of rainfall and warmer-than-normal temperatures threaten harvests, though it is still early for those crops. North Dakota and the plains region depend on snow and rainfall for its agriculture water.
Southwest States in Severe Drought
While not as severe, farm states Iowa and Illinois are suffering “abnormally dry” conditions in 64% for Iowa and 27% for Illinois. About 55% of Minnesota is abnormally dry as of end May. Drought is measured in a scale from D1 “abnormally dry,” D3 “severe drought” to D4, “exceptional drought.”
The severe dry conditions are not limited, unfortunately, to North Dakota or other Midwest farm states. A second region of very severe drought extends from western Texas across New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada and deep into California. In Texas 20% of the state is in “severe drought,” and 12% “extreme drought.” Nearly 6% of the state is experiencing “exceptional drought,” the worst. New Mexico is undergoing 96% “severe drought,” and of that, 47% “exceptional drought.”
California Agriculture is Vital
The situation in California is by far the most serious in its potential impact on the supply of agriculture products to the nation. There, irrigation and a sophisticated water storage system provide water for irrigation and urban use to the state for their periodic dry seasons. Here a far larger catastrophe is in the making. A cyclical drought season is combining with literally criminal state environmental politics, to devastate agriculture in the nation’s most important farm producing state. It is part of a radical Green Agenda being advocated by Gov. Gavin Newsom and fellow Democrats to dismantle traditional agriculture, as insane as it may sound.
Few outside California realize that the state most known for Silicon Valley and beautiful beaches is such a vital source of agriculture production. California’s agricultural sector is the most important in the United States, leading the nation’s production in over 77 different products including dairy and a number of fruit and vegetable “specialty” crops. The state is the only producer of crops such as almonds, artichokes, persimmons, raisins, and walnuts. California grows a third of the country’s vegetables and two thirds of the country’s fruits and nuts. It leads all other states in farm income with77,500 farms and ranches. It also is second in production of livestock behind Texas, and its dairy industry is California’s leading commodity in cash receipts. In total, 43 million acres of the state’s 100 million acres are devoted to agriculture. In short what happens here is vital to the nation’s food supply.
California Crisis Manmade: Where has the water gone?
The water crisis in California is far the most serious in terms of consequences for the food supply, in a period when the US faces major supply chain disruptions owing to absurd corona lockdowns combined with highly suspicious hacks of key infrastructure. On May 31, the infrastructure of the world’s largest meat processor, JBS SA, was hacked, forcing the shutdown of all its US beef plants that supply almost a quarter of American beef.
The Green lobby is asserting, while presenting no factual evidence, that Global Warming, i.e. increased CO2 manmade emission, is causing the drought. The NOAA examined the case and found no evidence. But the media repeats the narrative to advance the Green New Deal agenda with frightening statements such as claiming the drought is, “comparable to the worst mega-droughts since 800 CE.”
After 2011, California underwent a severe seven year drought. The drought ended in 2019 as major rains filled the California reservoir system to capacity. According to state water experts the reservoirs held enough water to easily endure at least a five-year drought. Yet two years later, the administration of Governor Newsom is declaring a new drought and threatening emergency measures. What his Administration is not saying is that the State Water Board and relevant state water authorities have been deliberately letting water flow into the Pacific Ocean. Why? They say to save two endangered fish species that are all but extinct—one, a rare type of Salmon, the second a Delta Smelt, a tiny minnow-size fish of some 2” size which has all but disappeared.
In June 2019 Shasta Dam, holding the state’s largest reservoir as a keystone of the huge Central Valley Project, was full to 98% of capacity. Just two years later in May 2021 Shasta Lake reservoir held a mere 42% of capacity, almost 60% down. Similarly, in June 2019 Oroville Dam reservoir, the second largest, held water at 98% of capacity and by May 2021 was down to just 37%. Other smaller reservoirs saw similar drops. Where has all the water gone?
Allegedly to “save” these fish varieties, during just 14 days in May, according to Kristi Diener, a California water expert and farmer, “90% of (Bay Area) Delta inflow went to sea. It’s equal to a year’s supply of water for 1 million people.” Diener has been warning repeatedly in recent years that water is unnecessarily being let out to sea as the state faces a normal dry year. She asks, “Should we be having water shortages in the start of our second dry year? No. Our reservoirs were designed to provide a steady five year supply for all users, and were filled to the top in June 2019.”
In 2008, at the demand of environmental groups such as the NRDC, a California judge ordered that the Central Valley Water project send 50% of water reservoirs to the Pacific Ocean to “save” an endangered salmon variety, even though the NGO admitted that no more than 1,000 salmon would likely be saved by the extreme measure. In the years 1998-2005 an estimated average of 49% of California managed water supply went to what is termed the “environment,” including feeding into streams and rivers, to feed estuaries and the Bay Area Delta. Only 28% went directly to maintain agriculture water supplies.
This past January Felicia Marcus, the chair of the California State Water Resources Control Board, who oversaw the controversial water policies since 2018, left at the end of her term to become an attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) one of the most powerful green NGO’s, with a reported $400 million in resources to wage legal battles to defend “endangered species” such as the California salmon and the Delta Smelt.
Appointed by green Gov. Jerry Brown as chair of the State Water Board in 2018, Marcus is directly responsible for the draining of the reservoirs into the ocean after they filled in 2019, using the claim of protecting endangered species. In March 2021 with Marcus as attorney, the NRDC requested that the State Water Resources Control Board Marcus headed until recently, take “immediate action” to address perceived threats to listed salmon in the Sacramento River watershed from Central Valley Project (“CVP”) operations. This as the state is facing a new drought emergency?
In 2020 Gov. Gavin Newsom, a protégé of Jerry Brown, signed Senate Bill 1, the California Environmental, Public Health and Workers Defense Act, which would send billions of gallons of water out to the Pacific Ocean, ostensibly to save more fish. It was a cover for manufacturing the present water crisis and specifically attacking farming, as incredible as it may seem.
The true agenda of the Newsom and previous Brown administrations is to radically undermine the highly productive California agriculture sector. Gov. Newsom has now introduced an impressive-sounding $5.1 billion Drought Relief bill. Despite its title, nothing will go to improve the state reservoir water availability for cities and farms. Of the total, $500 million will be spent on incentives for farmers to “re-purpose” their land, that is to stop farming. Suggestions include wildlife habitat, recreation, or solar panels! Another $230 million will be used for “wildlife corridors and fish passage projects to improve the ability of wildlife to migrate safely.” “Fish passage projects” is a clever phrase for dam removal, destroying the nation’s most effective network of reservoirs.
Then the Newson bill allocates $300 million for the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act implementation, a 2014 law from Jerry Brown amid the previous severe drought to prevent farmers in effect from securing water from drilling wells. The effect will be to drive more farmers off the land. And another $200 million will go to “habitat restoration,” supporting tidal wetland, floodplains, and multi-benefit flood-risk reduction projects—a drought package with funding for floods? This is about recreating flood plains so when they demolish the dams, the water has someplace to go. The vast bulk of the $500 billion is slated to reimburse water customers from the previous 2011-2019 drought from higher water bills, a move no doubt in hopes voters will look positively on Newsom as he faces likely voter recall in November.
The systematic dismantling of one of the world’s most productive agriculture regions, using the seductive mantra of “environmental protection,” fits into the larger agenda of the Davos Great Reset and its plans to radically transform world agriculture into what the UN Agenda 2030 calls “sustainable” agriculture—no more meat protein. The green argument is that cows are a major source of methane gas emissions via burps. How that affects global climate no one has seriously proven. Instead we should eat laboratory-made fake meat like the genetically-manipulated Impossible Burger of Bill Gates and Google, or even worms. Yes. In January the EU European Food Safety Agency (EFSA), approved mealworms , or larvae of the darkling beetle, as the first “novel food” cleared for sale across the EU.
F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.