Readers React

California's drought and the debate over exporting rice

To the editor: It is interesting how David Pierson’s article on U.S. farmers hoping to sell rice to China touches on so many issues. The message overall is that food producers will produce a healthier product when it is economic to do so.  (“Looking to Asia,”  Aug. 24)

Unless someone complains about food additives (ractopamine in pork), contamination (insects in the rice?), poor nutritional quality (skim milk) and unwanted modifications (GMO corn), there is little incentive to change.

Plus, scant mention was made of the reasonableness of raising a water-intensive crop such as rice in a drought-stricken state.

However, just yesterday I bought 20 pounds of Calrose rice that was probably grown in California. It’s tasty.

Richard Anderson, Camarillo

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To the editor: I don’t usually react angrily to your articles, but this one got my blood boiling.

I am so glad that U.S. rice farmers are eyeing the growing (possibly) rice market in China. Of course, they’ll get more money for their crops because they’ll sell to a highly selected market for a premium crop.

I think this is a terribly inopportune time, with our major drought issues and the huge percentage of our water supply already allocated to agriculture, to virtually export our water to a foreign country in the form of this rice crop.

I’m thinking that if we have water to spare, there are already places in California that could use a share.

I realize I’m probably howling at the moon, since so many in this country are only business/profit oriented and the needy public can take the leavings.

Sylvia Dohnal, Arcadia

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To the editor:  As I consider removing a large portion of my lawn, and I turn off the water as I soap up in the shower during our drought, it seems wrong for some farmers in California to grow rice, requiring great amounts of water, and then sell it overseas.

Laura Garfield, Tarzana

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To the editor: On our November ballot is a water bond seeking millions of taxpayer dollars to upgrade water facilities.

Why would the taxpayer vote to approve a water bond so that developers can add more housing units to increase their bottom line or growers can increase exports?

I intend to vote no on any further water bonds in this state. Let’s use this money to educate people on water-wise living instead.

Iris Keijer, Bell Canyon

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To the editor: Are you kidding? We are in a severe drought and your front-page feature is about rice farmers in California hoping to export to China? I am going to go flush my toilet!

Marie Matthews, San Pedro

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