Farmers Worry About Water

Today, we’re diving into a serious issue affecting American farmers, especially those near the border with Mexico.

Picture this: hardworking farmers struggling to keep their crops alive because they’re not getting the water they desperately need. The culprit? A decades-old treaty that isn’t being honored.

Meet Brian Jones. He’s been farming near the border for almost 40 years. This year, he’s facing an unprecedented challenge. “This is the first year that I have zero irrigation water,” Brian said. Imagine having to leave half your farm unplanted because there’s no water to nourish the crops. That’s Brian’s reality.

Now, let’s rewind to the 1940s. Back then, a treaty was signed between the U.S. and Mexico, promising a certain amount of water to the Lower Rio Grande region. Fast forward to today, and farmers like Brian are saying that Mexico is falling behind on its end of the deal. This isn’t just a small hiccup; it’s a major issue that’s causing a significant drop in crop production.

Luis Ribera, a professor and extension economist at Texas A&M, has been studying the potential impact of this water shortage. His findings are eye-opening. “Just the direct impact for producers is going to be close to $500 million,” he explained. And it doesn’t stop there. Over 8,500 jobs depend on agriculture in this region, from production to distribution. That’s a lot of livelihoods at stake.

Take the sugar mill near Brian’s farm, for example. It’s the only one in the state, and it had to shut down this year because there wasn’t enough water for production. Brian described seeing the mill close as a sobering reminder of what could happen to his own farm if things don’t change soon.

So, what’s the big takeaway here? If Mexico doesn’t step up and provide the water it agreed to in the treaty, we’re looking at more than just local farming issues. Professor Ribera warns that this could eventually drive up the price of groceries for everyone. That’s right—what starts as a water problem in one region can ripple out to affect grocery prices nationwide.

Brian and many other farmers are hoping for a solution. “We’re praying that Mexico starts doing what they’re supposed to do, what they said they would do,” Brian said. It’s a call for action that impacts more than just the farming community.

Stay tuned, folks. This is a developing story, and it’s one we all should be paying attention to. After all, it’s not just about water—it’s about our food, our economy, and the livelihood of thousands of hardworking farmers.