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which could be financed and constructed “solely by local agencies” or “solely by the state” or jointly by the state and local agencies. And it is specifically envisioned that “Irrigation distribution . . . could be locally constructed.. ..” It takes little imagination to visualize the meaning of these carefully-spun words in the concrete dams, the great blue reservoirs, and the rushing blue streams of the water system. The feds will be permitted to pay three-fourths of the bill and control the waterworks that actually cross the state line, but then, boys, we take over, and if you want to build you a little irrigation system over there in your territory, why, sure. It is not only quite possible, but from the evidence quite likely that evasion of the 160-acre limitation is one objective of the “Texas water plan.” Attached to the plan’s hope, of which Long made much, that the federal government will finance the “portion of” the system to be used for agriculture was this most interesting sentence: “This will, however, make the lands served subject to whatever acreage limitation provisions may be in effect at that time.” Elsewhere, the promulgators of the plan say specifically that one of their objectives is changing these present provisions. “The Texas Water Plan” explicitly states: “The present acreage limitation provisions of Federal Reclamation Law will need to be revised if the State is to have an economically viable agriculture in Texas under Reclamation projects.” If the 160-acre limitation is not changed, what then? “The Plan,” so interestingly anonymous anyway, does not say, but we have it on the authority of Howard Boswell, executive director of the Texas Water Development Board, thatAit is “a flexible guide.” In other words0 no promises, gentlemen. It is perfectly obvious that, as a technological matter, the $3.5 billion bond issue would be financing part of a state water system with which its promoters want to provide the factory farmers with water freed from the federal 160-acre limitation. THIS IS A COMPLEX subject. Liberally inclined people now urbanized in the main, like most Texans give little or no thought to what is happening on the land. Yet August 5 Texans must decide whether to obligate themselves for $7 billion, at least, to pay for perhaps onethird of a water system the federal government has not yet approved or agreed to come into. “Water” is the symbol, but the future nature of life on the land is the issue. The cities and industry will get their water one way or another; the family size farm is under siege and its continuation in doubt. The 160-acre limitation and all the issues associated with it are therefore the most serious social issues the water program entails. In 1902, as a result of the insistence and stirring oratory of President Theodore Roosevelt against land monopolists and on the behalf of the family farm, the Congress fixed the family farm concept firmly into federal water reclamation law. The 1902 reclamation act provided clearly that no water from a federal reclamation project could be sold to any one landowner for a tract of more than 160 acres and that the landowner had to live on the land or else be its occupant and live in its neighborhood. The exact wording: “No right to the use of water for land in private ownership shall be sold for a tract exceeding one hundred and sixty acres to any one landowner, and no such sale shall be made to any landowner unless he be an actual bona fide resident on such land, or occupant thereof residing in the neighborhood of said land.” Farmers receiving water under the water-sharing law have to agree to repay their share of the costs of providing it, except for the interest. Since the interest the federal government pays on such projects is about half the costs, federal irrigation water is a farm subsidy, limited under the water-sharing law to 160 acres per citizen. Estimates of the subsidy involved range from $600 to $2,000 per acre. Taking a figure of $1,000 per acre, this means that irrigation water subsidizes a family-size farm of 160 acres to the extent of $160,000. The dimensions of the controversy may be gauged from a single fact. Southern Pacific owns 120,000 acres of land in the San Joaquin Valley. Had the attempt to exempt San Luis Project of the “California Water Plan” from the water-sharing law succeeded in 1959, Southern Pacific’s potential legalized subsidy figured at this rate would have been $120,000,000. On the other hand, federal law requires that major landholders can obtain federal water for their “excess lands” \(those in cordable contracts” agreeing to sell the excess land at the end of ten years at pre-water prices. THE 160-ACRE limitation is still the law of the land, but it has been widely evaded by a dizzying array of federal, state, and water-district rulings and practices. The requirement that major landowners getting excess water must sell their land after 10 years, and at pre-water prices, naturally, therefore, greatly troubles many factory farmers. The law might be enforced. Highly valuable farmland might have to be sold at low prices. There has been one test, involving the DiGiorgio Corporation in California. The Bureau of Reclamation enforced the 160 a cr e limitation on DiGiorgo’s land holdings. Last month in Los Angeles, this company divulged that whereas a decade ago it was a farm-based company, it has become a conglomerate. Robert DiGiorgio said that ten years ago the decision was made to move away from farming because of “the unpredictability of the weather and the market, the uncertainty of crop yields, and the 160-acre limitation imposed by the federal government on farms qualified to receive irrigation water” \(Los Angeles Times, On March 24 of this year, Sen. John Tower, the Texas Republican, joined with Sen. George Murphy, the California Republican, and three other senators in sponsoring a bill to replace the 160-acre limit with a 640-acre limit. Since 160 acres is allowed for a man and another 160 for his wife, this would in effect change a 320-acre limit to a 1280-acre limit on ‘how much land may receive federally-subsidized water. More important than this: the Murphy bill, co-sponsored by Tower of Texas, would let landowners buy as much federal water as they wanted in excess of the new limit, provided they paid the interest on their share of the costs of the water for the excess. This proposal to let big landowners “buy out” from under the federal water sharing law is the crux of the controversy. The issue is not discussed in any direct way in the Texas water plan, although half 16 million of the 32 million acre-feet of water to be needed by 2020 is to go to irrigation. The land irrigated in Texas is to be about doubled from about eight million to about 17 million acres yet the “Texas Water Plan” contains no planning for what way of life this water will irrigate. WE HAVE ONLY BEGUN, as a nation, to think our way out of the decline of the family farm and the rise of the great factory farms. Here we have all these people jammed up in the ghettoes, raging in their spirit; here we have a national law and policy, 66 years old, that the benefits of federal water projects shall be widely distributed among the people; and here we have the great American West, suddenly all of it within reach of a national water system that can make most of it arable. The technology of farming does involve more and more heavy equipment, yet here we have Title III of the Economic Opportunity Act providing for federal financing for agricultural activities designed to encourage cooperatives associated with family-size farming. Are these possibilities to be lost because of the city liberal’s acceptance of the widely-sold slogan that the family farm is dead? The subject is not “160 acres,” but whether the present federal law limiting the sale of federally subsidized water to a family-size farm shall be in effect repealed and this subsidy given to the factory farmers. August I, 1969 11