Facts are stubborn things.
Ronald Reagan, Former U.S. President
A friend of mine just came back home to California from a special trip to Poland. There, his ancestors have been recognized in books and statues for doing great things in their time, but he has no plans for a return visit; for one thing, the food was lousy. Leaving aside the fact that he lost 20 pounds, the poor options he had as a luxury traveler for a satisfying meal speaks volumes about the value of agriculture in a thriving and diverse economy. It also speaks to where California seems to be heading if we don’t kick the habit of blaming farmers for the underdeveloped water supply.
With similar populations, Poland has 38 million and a GDP of about $470 billion, while California has nearly 39 (I) million and a GSP around $1.9 trillion, we might be able to help each other. Agriculture makes up 4 percent of Poland’s GDP with 17.4 percent of the labor force while California’s farmers bring 2 percent to GSP with only 2.4 (II) percent of the labor force. Poland ranks as the 22nd largest economy in the world while California ranks eighth.(III) But California’s reputation for great chefs, great food, the freshest produce, the finest meats is world-renowned. Poland’s, alas, is the opposite. But Poland has lots of reservoirs. With Poland set to take over as head of the European Union in late 2011, perhaps California farmers can strike a deal. We’ll feed them if they pay us in water supplies.
(I) Per Mary Heim, head of Demographic Research Unit, CA Dept. of Finance, in 5/6/11 interview with KNBC TV.