I have not been writing because of Twitter. If I only have one thought about an article, I mention that on Twitter and have done. I used to gather those into a news round-up, but Twitter ruins everything.
I have not been writing because I do not feel that I have stayed current on my favorite topic, agriculture in the Central Valley. I have never disguised the fact that I am not a local and that I get my information from text. But I long thought I understood trends and I was one of the few
foolishbold enough to extrapolate from them. Now I am not certain I know where things are going, and I don’t want to be one of the geezers loudly repeating policy recommendations that were on point two decades ago. I also don’t want to be making arguments for things that are already too timid or mostly accomplished; it is possible that events have passed me by.
Here are some things that I don’t know:
I do not understand the current labor market in the SJV. I don’t know whether farmworker towns will persist or disperse, whether there will be a replacement generation of farmworkers, whether farmworkers are now receiving decent wages and able to choose working conditions.
I do not understand the forms of power in the Valley. I had thought the connected-white-man form of power was on the wane. It may yet be. But it held out last year and this, although it continues to cost staggering amounts of money and not achieve desired results (new dams, the drainage deal, wet water, unlimited gw pumping, privacy). I cannot tell how much strength new woman-led coalitions (like the Community Water Center) have, nor how social media connections are solidifying new power nodes.
I also don’t know how to gauge the political temperament in the Valley. I’d be embarrassed to make recommendations about zoning for food scarcity as if that were daring only to find out that the radicals in the Valley are themselves ready for a kibbutz model. I do not know how much younger generations in the Valley identify with ag. I do not know whether Valley farmers are still in denial about climate change.
I am no longer sure how water use is shaped. I used to think the drivers were the human desire to maintain whatever they are currently used to and the international market for almonds. Now I wonder about heat (literal hot temperatures) and how fury at Trump and older generations for what they’ve cost the young will show up. I am certain that I am at least a decade behind on technology use in ag, especially remote sensing. More broadly, throughout the state, it is becoming clear that homelessness is now an important water issue, which I did not predict nor recognize until a local water manager told me.
As I watch, I see hints of new things that make me doubt my generalizations and extrapolations. I want to safeguard OtPR’s credibility, but am equally certain that cautious blogging is boring blogging. So I haven’t had much left to say.