As a rancher and cattlewoman, I was startled at the outlandish claims made about beef and water in a November Letter to the Editor. Of course it takes water to raise and grow food – both veggies and animal protein – a precious resource we highly respect in agriculture. And, after all, we have to eat. The high water use number claimed by the author (more than 5,000 gallons to produce one pound of beef) simply isn’t true. Actually, it takes about 308 gallons of water to produce one pound of boneless beef (Asem-Hiablie et al., 2018). To break that down, that is green water (rainwater that landed on the field or pasture), blue water (irrigation water for crops and drinking water for animals), and gray water (used for cleaning animal facilities, processing plants, etc.). More than 90% of the water footprint for beef production is green water. Unlike blue and gray water, green water cannot be used directly by humans, but it is critically important to grow forages on the range.
Cattlemen and women, in every step of the way from the ranch to the feed yard, and on to processing, take environmental sustainability seriously and work to continuously improve the way we raise cattle here in Arizona and across the country, to raise nutritious beef for our families and yours.
Rose Tree Ranch
I’m writing to express my gratitude to the key players who have come together to get turkeys to our local families this week. First, a big thanks to Supervisor Bruce Bracker, who responded to our community’s request for turkeys to distribute – in addition to being the champion for the produce boxes that are distributed twice a month in Sonoita. Second, a big thank you to the Villa family of Villa’s Market in Nogales, who so generously provided turkeys for the community. And last but not least, thanks go to the Benson Chapter of the Arizona Rangers for delivering turkeys to our neighbors!
We truly are a blessed community. This couldn’t be accomplished without the efforts of all, plus the ongoing efforts of the local volunteers who help with distribution.
A huge thank you to the Spirit World 100 for their wonderful event that brought so many guests to celebrate and enjoy being in our community. The day began in the early morning with the gathering of the riders downtown and the magnificent drumming that totally enhanced the mood. Riders, visitors, and we townsfolk were excited throughout the day as they watched participants return from this epic race. The event was capped off that evening with the great music and party in the park. I met riders and visitors who had traveled from Kansas, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Colorado and elsewhere. All came to Patagonia to celebrate being in our special town and region. “Hats off” for all of the efforts involved in hosting this spectacular event!
Thank You to Patagonia Assisted Care Agency
We have been so fortunate to have here in our little community, a little business that was compassionate, loving and dedicated.
Annie Mihalik, Tony Mihalik, and her wonderful staff served so many of us with care, kindness and love. Their years of care helped so many here at home.
A sincere and heartfelt thank you to Patagonia Assisted Care Agency.
Protecting Our Groundwater
Earlier this year Dave Ellis and I showed in the PRT how the water level in one of Patagonia’s town wells varied with area rainfall. It not only showed a remarkable correlation, but also a longer term trend downward, most probably due to global warming. Rising temperatures cause less surface water to reach ground water wells, it is as simple as that.
Recently, PARA and I passed the Appeals Board of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) in an appeal to revoke ADEQ’s Aquifer Protection Permit (APP) allowing South32 to pump more than six million gallons per day so that it can proceed to full scale operation in the Patagonia Mountains. The appeal will now be heard at the AZ Office of Administrative Hearings at a date still to be determined unless ADEQ lawyers succeed in convincing the judge that appellants have no standing. Apparently that is more important to ADEQ than “to Protect and Enhance Public Health and Environment,” as per ADEQ’s own mission statement.
Among the arguments I will use in this case is a study of the United States Geological Survey on the water balance of the Cienega Creek Basin, of which Patagonia, Sonoita and Elgin are part of. It does not take much calculation to conclude that with the ADEQ permit in place, the basin water balance will become hugely negative and will not only affect the already sensitive balance of the Patagonia town wells, but also those who rely on basin groundwater at other locations.
ADEQ argues that it only regulates water quality but it apparently has the power to issue permits that deplete our aquifers even in times of water rationing. As usual, multinationals have been able to manipulate elected politicians and regulators to approve laws that do not cover in a consistent way the protection of water. ADEQ therefore is not truthful to its own mission statement and you may wonder why it actually still has its budget approved by the people.
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