Can Imperial County Come Back From the Dust?

"High value crops such as cotton, grains, and fruits (melons) were mentioned as coming in abundance from the area." With the exception of cotton, all of those commodities do come in abundance from the Imperial Valley. And cotton used to as well, until several imported pests came in and prices dropped, and cotton became unprofitable. The number one commodity that comes from Imperial Valley is actually cattle. Hay is usually number two, but in 2009 it dropped down to #5. The county is one of the top five counties in the nation for the production of spinach, potatoes, cauliflower, sweet corn, broccoli and onions. It's a top producer of aquaculture and lambs, and many more commodities. Yes, a lot of hay is grown in the desert. It's a stable, year-round crop that nearly always at least breaks even. Yes, hay is easier to grow and MUCH cheaper to harvest (which is why it usually breaks even or brings at least some profit). Vegetable crops are a lot riskier, so almost everyone grows some hay to mitigate their risk a little bit. But very little of that hay goes to the coast to feed horses. Some of it does, yes. But that is a very, very small portion of the whole. The majority of it feeds the beef cattle that are the county's #1 commodity, or the dairy cattle that are California's #1 commodity. As far as solar energy goes, I agree with you. It should not come with a free ride and no obligation to pay taxes. It has potential, but there are lots of other renewable energy sources with potential in Imperial Valley, too.
— December 6, 2010 9:57 p.m.

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