Klamath Farmers Warn Of Impending Food Crisis

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Klamath Farmers Warn Of Impending Food Crisis

Drought Highlights Possibility Of Foreign Dependence KLAMATH FALLS, Ore., 12:38 p.m. PDT July 27, 2001 -- People in Klamath Falls are saying that if the decision to cut off water to save endangered fish can happen there, it can happen anywhere. Farm, Ranch Families Speak Out Farmers who grow food there think that there could be a more immediate, and certain effect, to those who live in the city.

Irrigation water was curtailed after an April ruling to protect endangered suckerfish in Upper Klamath Lake.

On Tuesday, Interior Secretary Gale Norton announced the release of 75,000-acre-feet of water -- less than 20 percent of what farmers would receive in a normal season. Water began flowing Wednesday after one of six head gates was opened.

Farm wife Teresa Peterson believes that keeping the small American farm alive is critical

Rancher Charles Kerr says that relying on another country for food is scary, and that the danger goes deeper than chemicals.

"It might be 10 years, it might be 15 years, but eventually we'll be dependent on foreign food, like we are oil," Kerr says.

And that eventuality, according to folks in the Klamath Basin, is why people in Portland should care about the situation.

Not all the people who live in the basin rely on the irrigation canals for their water. Some have wells, but this season, many of those wells are going dry.


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), July 27, 2001

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