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Agricultural Land Purchases

February 26, 2017

The following was published as a Letter to the Editor in the Borrego Sun, 02/23/2017. It appears here by permission of the author.

The agricultural corporation, Oasis Farms, is trying to work out a deal to donate some of it's Borrego holdings to the Borrego Water District. The land and the water attached to the land would move to the ownership of the Water District. In return, Oasis Farms would get a tax break.

This is a good sign for Borregans and our severely depleted aquifer. Perhaps the other farm corporations in the valley should look at doing the same thing. It would be the smart move.

When we complete the Sustainable Groundwater plan the farmers will give up at least seventy percent of their water. They will not have enough water left to farm much of anything. Many of the farmers will sell what little water they receive in the plan to the golf courses and the water district.

That means farm land right now is worth very little because who would buy a farm that will have almost no water attached to it as a result of the sustainable groundwater plan? In addition, reclaiming farm land is done at considerable cost, the wells are likely contaminated with nitrates, as are the soils after years of applying fertilizers and pesticides. Oasis Farms are doing the smart thing. Donate the land right now while it does have more value because it currently has water and take the tax benefits.

The other farmers in the valley should do us all a favor and take advantage of such a deal while the opportunity exists. They would come out much better than if they wait until their land is dewatered, and, our aquifer situation will be solved for future generations.

Ray Shindler
Borrego Springs

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