Category: Commentaries

Technology is cropping up in our lettuce fields

In Yuma, Arizona, agriculture has embraced technology to increase yield. In his 1986 classic, Cadillac Desert, Marc Reisner portrayed agriculture in the Yuma, Arizona, region as a poster child for what’s wrong with how water is used in the West. He sketched a situation that would have amused the cartoonist Rube Goldberg: The Bureau of Reclamation built a hugely expensive desalination plant in the desert, and the water it produced cost $300 an acre-foot so that irrigators could continue to grow federally subsidized surplus crops that cost them $3.50 an acre-foot. Reisner suggested a far cheaper solution: Buy out the…