||This interview appears in the September 9, 2011 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
IINTERVIEW: ANDY OLSON AND WAYNE VOELZ
Why NAWAPA Is the Only Viable Solution
to the Farming Crisis
[PDF version of this interview]
Andy Olson, a Minnesota farmer, and Wayne Voelz, a land-development project manager from Arizona who was in Montana during the Summer, were interviewed by Marcia Merry Baker on The LaRouche Show, a weekly Internet radio program, on Aug. 27. This is an edited transcript; the audio of the show.
Baker: By way of introduction: Here in the studio we still have electricity. We're west of Washington, D.C. and the Delmarva Peninsula, the Chesapeake Bay, and the Mid-Atlantic states are going to be hit by Hurricane Irene's track in some hours, sometime tonight. And this question of disaster, which the men on the show are going to say more aboutbut our planet is very hyperactive right now, in the way of tectonics, in the way of weather, in the way of volcanic activity. We know that the Eastern states had a very rare occurrence, an earthquake, in the last ten days, so there's an expression of natural law here, where it defines the crisis we have, because we as human beings, with creativity, with the potential for discovery, should be doing the kinds of things that protect human beings and protect the potential for creativity in the future, instead of just being subjects to anything happening, as if there's nothing you can do about it....
In the last 24 hours, President Obama said there's nothing we can do about Mother Nature. That's a quote. He's back in Washington, D.C., not to look bad as the hurricane hits.
But we could be having a sane policy-response to disasters: The vast flooding earlier this year in the lower Mississippi, the Ohio Valley, and the continued flooding in the Missouri system. We could be doing something about this Hurricane Irene, but we are not. We have tremendous volunteerism and heroics, which is goodthe Salvation Army gave a special report today, and the Red Cross in Washington, and again, this points up the fact that our Federal government isn't doing what the legacy of the American System would be having it do: Go to the max, with the Army Corps of Engineers, to defend against floods and potential earthquakes and so forth. The Salvation Army said, "We're still busy, because Hurricane Irene hit the Caribbean islands four days ago, and as of this morning, 800,000 people in those islands still don't have electricity."...
A Man-Made Catastrophe
I want to begin with the crisis we have on our hands, to take advantage of your personal experiences, Andy and Wayne. Andy, can you tell me, from your vantage point, what the situation has been like this year?
Olson: Yes, it seems like we either have feast or famine here, when it comes to the weather. We were very wet through the planting season and even through July, and then surprisingly for the last month, we have not had much measurable rain. And so, our yield potential is diminishing. The corn I think, rain will not help it any more; and the soybeans could fill out if we could get some rain imminently.
But it's varied throughout the Midwest. I sort of straddle: I'm on the Mississippi watershed, but just about 20 miles from me is the Missouri watershed. And the Missouri watershed has claimed a lot of the headlines up here, and justifiably so. The Missouri watershed, then the snowmelt, coupled with above-normal rainfall has caused the Missouri to flood. And people have never seen it floodmost of those living out therein their lifetime! And it was a shock to people. And there's been a lot of politicking on the part of former Governor Janklow in South Dakota, and blaming the Corps for the flood!
Baker: The Army Corps of Engineers.
Olson: Yes. I think there should be some more investigations about why the Corps didn't react sooner. And they have to be political, and they're having to deal with the Environmental Protection Agency, which has declared the piping plover and pallid sturgeon endangered species on the Missouri River. So they've been spending a lot of their effort making artificial sandbars over the years, and going in the backwaters and trying to get habitat for this pallid sturgeon. And people say there's plenty of sturgeon in this Missouri River, and there's no reason for this.
Well, there wasn't an effort to build up the levees! So, when the water came, it washed out the habitats that they've been spending millions on, in just a matter of an hour or two. So, now, the money was not spent for the levees; the levees brokeit's a man-made catastrophe!
But it's not being addressed in the media. Interstate 29 parallels the Missouri River, in western Iowa, western Missouri, and where the levee on the Missouri-Iowa border broke, it shut off the interstate. The traffic's been disrupted, plus the farmers have experienced all kinds of difficulties. It's like a new inland lake. It's diminishing right now, but the last I heard, I-29 was still closed south of Omaha, down past the Missouri border.
So, it's amazing that Americanswe've been able to do most anything, as far as infrastructure and so forthbut in the last decades and years, we've just been horse-collared by a number of forces, Wall Street being one; but the environmentalist movement is the battering ram out here that is preventing us from putting in place the infrastructure that's necessary. Not just in water, but in power generationI mean, putting up all these green windmills. They're plastering all these wind turbines around, in especially western Minnesota, southwestern Minnesota, along what's called the Buffalo Ridge. It's sad that we're doing this.
And in South Dakota, there are, I think, six main-stem dams. John Kennedy came out and dedicated the Oahe Dam at Pierre, South Dakota, and called it "one of the wonders of the world." It's still in place, the dam has held; it's a wonderful resource for the area as far as electricity goes. Preceding that, it was FDR and his people, like Leland Olds, who fought for giant power as opposed to small diesel generating and so forth, and giant power won out. And there is a coal-fired plant at Stanton, North Dakota that's named after him.
And what happened is that over the years, the Environment Protection Agency has imposed all these exhaust emissions and pollutant [controls], and they're spending billions to try to mitigate this. And in the meantime, even some of these cooperative energy generation co-ops are putting in wind towers! They should never be doing that.
Baker: You mean the rural electric cooperatives?
Olson: Yes, Basin Electric would be an example. That's the giant regional co-op, and then there are the other co-ops that are under them, and they're all running after credits for wind towers. And the government is pouring billions of dollars into this, and they're putting it on prime farmland. It's a crime against our citizens.
Flooding in Montana
Baker: Wayne, do you want to report from the drought [in Arizona], but also the Missouri system in Montana, from the same point of view?
Voelz: Sure. I spent the Summer in south-central Montana, I grew up there. My family is there; we still have farming and ranching operations in Carbon County, which is south of Billings, just north of Yellowstone Park, in the Yellowstone watershed.
I got there the first of May, which was pretty much the beginning of multiple cycles of heavy precipitation in our particular area there, in the Rock Creek Valley. Every time there was three inches of rain in the valley, that was another two or three feet of snowpack in the mountains, up there to the Absarokee wilderness, around the perimeter of the east side of Yellowstone Park and the north perimeter of Yellowstone Park, which is where the Yellowstone River originates. And the Yellowstone basically receives all the watersheds of the southeastern quadrant of Montana.
My observation, initially, was that we were having unprecedented flooding on our place there, which was inundating fields with water. There were multiple factors involved, given certain kinds of maintenance that hadn't been done upstream from us, and we were essentially flooded out.
There were several major cycles. I think we took on about 15 inches of rain, and over the space of several weeks, one of the major problems that occurred was on the Musselshell River, north and west of Billings, and they were describing that as a 500-year-type event: Areas that had never been underwater before were underwater.
Now, in Montana, it's interesting to note, that particular area is just coming out of a 10- or 15-year drought cycle, so these events were diametrically opposite of that. There were lives lost. A rancher lost about 200 head of cattle that had been run off a precipice or a cliff, because they were trying to get away from a storm. There were ranchers, several people that I knew, who lost their lives, in our area, in the actual flood, trying to save a bridge or save livestock; one guy was struck by lightning. One guy drowned on his excavating machine: He was operating a track-mounted excavator, trying to protect an area, and was undermined, and he drowned.
And of course, May is the primary planting periodthe planting, fertilization, crops-in-the-ground cycle. And of course, the fields being as wet as they were, they were not plantable or fertilizable.
There were the physical issuesthe actual erosion and losses of bridges. Our reservoirs were full, uncharacteristically, which probably had to do with the historical drought cycle, trying to retain water as well as possible. But, with the major precipitation events, there were the overflows that had never been seen, and downstream flooding. There were a lot of flooding events there, that were just unprecedented in nature. Major highways: I-90 was completely covered with water east of Billings, in the Bighorn River area, so they had to shut that highway down.
A lot of things probably just went unreported: The town of Roundup had probably some of the worst damage, where buildings were virtually underwater in areas that had never had that problem before.
And of course, with land not being planted or with late planting, when I left last week, the results were starting to show up: The Spring wheat yields were looking like they were going to be downlate-harvest situations. The good news was that the dry land areastypically unirrigated dry landbenefitted. There were erosion situations, but there were higher yields of dry-land hay crops, and grain crops, due to the rainfall. But in my area, in the Rock Creek Valley, near Red Lodge, we grow a lot of high-quality grass hay, and of course, that typically is fertilized, and so the yields varied on that. I participated in putting up about 600 acres of grass hay, and my observation was that it was variable: In certain cases it was reasonable, but in a lot of it, the big yields were off, because of the physical inability to get into the field and apply fertilizer.
And there were some other factors, that go to the ongoing deterioration, or decline, or physical removing of productive land, taking productive land out of production and converting it to other uses.
And there are certain factors that are typically not taken into account, that contribute to a downstream flooding event, particularly, the subdividing, and subsequent relinquishing of water rights, or water usage on literally thousands of acres of land that were converted from having intrinsic value as farmland, and as a flood control mechanism.
I think people don't realize that productive farmland and irrigated watersheds, or specifically, systems that had been designed and implemented in the Franklin Roosevelt programsin our case, there were those major ditch distribution systems, that dissipate flood events or runoff events; in our case, the norm would be runoff from snowpack. This particular year, we had snowpack in excess; in our watershed there, in the Beartooth Absarokee Wilderness, there was 200-250% of normal snowpack; and in western Montana, up to 300% of normal.
So the concern that we had, that I had, was that we would have these rain events that were contributing to that snowpack. And then, when we moved into the warmer season in June and July, it was possible that we would have a major runoff event, right beyond the rain events that saturated the land. And it could have been catastrophic. However, fortunately, it was cool enough that it moderated that.
Other factors that are involved: Even in a normal runoff or a snowmelt event, when we had agricultural land in blocks of farms and ranches in our area, the irrigation systems act as a distribution system for those eventsand that's the idea, to utilize that runoff.
The Shift to Recreational Land Use
I have been looking at the shift that has occurred from a productive economy to a financial economy, and that has some correlations with the implementation of agricultural programs, like the CRP [Conservation Reserve Program] specifically. In the subdivision of land, there have been thousands of acres, most of the area that I grew up in, somewhere in the neighborhood of 75% of the productive farmland has been converted to what I would call recreational property.
I can see it from both sides: I grew up in agriculture, in farming and ranching; I thought I was going to be a farmer. But because of a financial recession we had, I had to get out of that, and I became a builder. I got involved with excavating; I worked in cleaning irrigation systems, building ditches for irrigation systems, so I kind of have a perspective; and I subsequently became a land developer and a homebuilder. So, I've been able to see it from both sides.
And there in Rock Creek Valleyand I'm sure you can just multiply what I'm describing over millions of acres of productive farmland, which had an intrinsic value, and has been converted over the last 25 or 30 years, much of it, especially in the aesthetic areas along the river valleys and streams, to recreational-type properties. And typically, what happens with that, is that water rights are relinquished. So when a piece of land is subdivided, and you have 40-acre parcels, or 20-, or 10-acre parcels, they no longer have an incremental water rights to that. So people come and they want to raise their horses or whatever. They have to pump water out of the ground, to do irrigation if they choose to do that at all, and what happens with land that's not irrigated in that area, is it generally reverts to weeds, typically, what we call, cheatgrass [a noxious, invasive weed], just dry land; weeds and grass just start to occupy dry land that's not irrigated.
And given that the water right has been relinquished, it just generally dissipates. It goes back into the pool, so to speak, of water rights.
And we can contemplate how that happens and how that might contribute to downstream flooding, and/or the dissipation of a flood event from a hydrological, a watershed-type standpoint. You have situations where we've taken water that might have been distributed across thousands of acres, but it now remains in the channel, remains in the river, and continues on downstream and doesn't get used at all! And if we looked at just that particular Yellowstone River watershed, that's a pretty common situation.
Baker: You're describing a kind of disorganization that took place, instead of upgrading the water/land relationship, and under judgment of educated, committed farmersbecause people were, and they would be, yetbut under this money system.
Andy, you may want to throw something in here from your geographical location. Minnesota is famous as the "Land o' Lakes," but you're in the southern part, near the Des Moines River, which traverses Iowa and goes down in the Mississippi there. And over the period Wayne mentioned, in the 1930s, before and after, a lot of that was underlain by tiling, pipesin other words, drainage improvementsfarmers did all this upgrading. There were small, upstream dams, besides the larger ones like you mentioned, the Oahe. And that's been underfunded like crazy during the last 50 years. Can you say something about that?
The Environmentalist Impact
Olson: Yes. The Soil Conservation Service was probably one of the most beneficial agencies that agriculture experienced.
Baker: And that was set up in 1935, under FDR and Henry Wallace.
Olson: Yes. And they would cost-share on waterway construction, instead of just an eroded ravine, and then drain tile, and so forth; and ours is called the Prairie Pothole Region, a type of topography. And a lot of this was initially drained by county ditches and so forth; some of them would just be drainage tile. It has dramatically increased the ability of the land to produce food. And this is still ongoing today.
But the environmentalists, the Department of Natural Resources, has been favored with funding here. In fact, in Minnesota, just a couple years ago, they passed a legacy tax, that, instead of going into infrastructure, goes to the Department of Natural Resources to save the fish and the animals and the wildlife. And they are buying up properties, and they're outbidding farmers, and they're going in and breaking these drainage systems, and thwarting the ability to drain the land, and then it reverts back to a slough or a shallow type of swamp.
And in another area of the Midwest that I've observed, along the Missouri River, the soils are called loess, and that's windblown soils, and it's completely different than the glaciated, prairie soils. I remember driving through Shenandoah, southwest Iowa, after a rain event, 35-40 years ago, and erosion was just horrific! And I just wondered why were they farming that area, and exposing it to so much erosion.
Well, what happened is, in the last 40 yearsand earlier, too, I'm surethe Soil Conservation would design terraces. The equipment could go in there and would facilitate agricultural production. I drove through there this Summer, and I talked to a farmer that farmed a few thousand acres, and he said he had 90 miles of terraces on his farm. Now, this is man making the soil more productive: The terraces catch the rainfall and hold it there, and there's maybe a piping system that mitigates that water, andtremendous crops!
I'm sure that those in the river bottomsthe river bottoms are the most fertile soils in the countrybut the river bottoms, now, are flooded, and also up here, where the Soil Conservation Service, the FDR legacy, has done tremendous things for production. We need more of this! We don't need to reverse and break some of these systems that have drained the land and were productive.
And, it is exasperating to watch the preeminence of the Department of Natural Resources [DNR] in my state. They're spending millions and millions of dollars that's really wasting our resources on animals! And we're in need of a lot of help here for people in the state! As you heard a few months ago, Minnesota had a shutdown, a fight over raising taxes or austerity. Well, in this type of Wall Street bailout austerity-type economy, austerity is always going to win out. It doesn't make any difference if it's Democrats or Republicans. And the DNR should have given some of their largesse of money back to the state, but no.
So you can see that this environmental movement, if we do not get a handle on this and rein this inyou know, piping plovers and pallid sturgeons in the Missouri, all this crazy stuff, "we're going to protect this insect or this lizard" or whatever it is. FDR's legacy is still real out here, but the environmentalists who are trying to shut down power lines versus power generation, nuclear powerthat's an old story.
Floods and NAWAPA
This whole subject of the Missouri River flood, the volume of water that came down through the MissouriI happened to go through the Gavins Point Dams area, the last mainstem dam on the Missouri, in the Yankton, South Dakota. area, and they have 165,000 cubic feet per second! It was the most tremendous amount of waterit was almost frightening to see it come through there.
When you think about it, in Southwest Texas and Kansas and that area, the NAWAPA program has designs to bring some of this water through Canada, and dump it into Lake Superior, from the Missouri into the Minnesota River, and then run it down the Mississippi. And maybe [engineer] Hal Cooper has done some work on this, where you can divert the water directly from the Missouri, and go southwest with it. I would think that there would be engineering that would be capable of doing this; and in a year like this, you could put that water to good use, whereas now, it's for destruction. I'm pretty convinced that the way the Wall Street parasites have handled the resources in our country, these areas will not get rebuilt! Joplin, Missouri, the tornado area, will not get rebuilt!
Now, what's going to happen with Hurricane Irene now? I don't know. They're worried about the [Aug. 23 Virginia] earthquake and the Washington Monument, but that's not really going to help us at all! So there are priorities, and we need to rein in this environmental nonsense. And most people just think that this is crazy, but they cannot organize to the point of understanding what this is, and shut it down.
Baker: Well, you've certainly raised again the point that I mentioned at the start: that when it comes to what's to do, more and more people will agree right off the bat, "Yes, we need production, not cuts. How are we going to get production?" The LaRouche Political Action Committee website is going, as soon as possible, to 14 hours, by the way, of updates and expansions of "here is what to do,\; here is more to back up what you're putting across, with your friends, neighbors, in your county, states, townships." This is the end of the Summer that was, this is the end of the fiscal year that was, and now we're at a break point. And, I'm speaking personally: This is it! I think we can do it! ...
Wayne, do you want to say anything about your involvement with the LPAC Basement Team research at different times since last August, over the fact that NAWAPA is the only practical thing to do, in the highest-level sense, to point out the kind of principles you're talking about, land and water upgrade, and go for NAWAPA?
Voelz: Sure. With my description of land that has gone out of production, I wanted to make the point that, during this last 40 years, when we needed to be increasing the productive, arable land in the United States, it was being diminished by multiple factors. In fact, there's an article I wrote, that goes into that whole subject, in a lot of the statistics.
One of the primary goals of NAWAPA is to increase arable land, increase water supplies and foster power supplies, etc., increase the science and technological applications to do that. But one of the chief goals of NAWAPA is that it literally doubles the amount of productive farmland in the western half of the United States. The western states are apparently not nearly as developed as they could possibly be, and of course, much of the reason for that can be attributed to environmentalist policies over the last 30-40 years. In fact, it's easily trackable; it would take a lot more time to go into that.
But the result, of course, is to provide water supplies for the development of the West, and to also help to replenish water supplies in the Ogallala Aquifer as well as the Great Lakes region, for the development of production in North Dakota, eastern Montana. There are many, many reasons for using NAWAPA. But on the way through, we're building an economic platform to expand or develop the western United States, but on the way to that, we're providing a platform for economic recovery, scientific and economic development, because of the sophistication of that project.
A Critical Juncture
Baker: Yes, the implications of what we would know about mass greening, instead of doing the opposite, right?
Voelz: Yes. I agree with Andy that the CRP and the Soil Conservation Program had good intentions; however, those programs kind of got hijacked in the mid-'80s with the subsequent farm bills. From my observation, they continued and were used as a tool to reduce production; take farmland out of production and convert it into conservation easements and things of that nature.
So, with the whole implementation of that, and the whole environmentalism viewpoint, we are at a critical juncture. Our food supplies are down to almost nothing. We have a month or two of available supply. We rely on other countries for imports of foods. We just absolutely are at a point where we have to make a major shift, and there are the necessary preconditions for that.
We have to essentially do the things that you've described earlier, and the first thing that goes with that, is we've got to get rid of this President with his policies; and then with the implementation of Glass-Steagall. That will provide the money system to fund the construction of NAWAPA, which in my calculations, and working with the LaRouchePAC Basement Team, and going through all of the original NAWAPA documents from the 1960s, and the considerations, for about the price of a bailout, for about a trillion bucks, we could have a NAWAPA well down the road. In an extrapolation, we did those numbers: $1 trillion was our early estimate of what it might cost to build NAWAPA today.
Baker: That's really something!
I'd like to turn to Andy for just a minute. On this question Wayne's raised about the food supply, we're getting a lot of reports, as you said, from Iowa, on the corn from county to countyone county, no rain at all in the last six weeks. You've got a real, hard-core shortage. You have all this corn going into biofuels under Obama. You have the overlay of the bailout money going into plain old, killer speculation on the Chicago Board of Trade, and driving up the input costs so that it's impossible for farmers to farm!
And along with the physical change of the actual landscape, you had a structural change in who's farming, like 30,000-acre farm operations in South Dakota: Would you make that clear for people?
Olson: Yes. One of the major crises we're going to be facing in the next generation is the loss of farmers. DairyI would never have believed they could have taken that business out of the small dairymen, and moved it into the mega-dairies, but we're starting to see that in our area. I know in California and the Southwest, that's been how they've operated. But Minnesota still has 6,000 dairy farms, and a lot of those are the smaller farmers, and that's been the backbone of milk production.
Speculation and the Food Cartels
And the area I'm most concerned about right now is animal agriculture. You know, the Tysons and the Pilgrim's Pride and so forth are into the poultry and egg layers; the part of agriculture that is benefitting from this inflation, and, in a sense, it's a mirage. The inflation that we're experiencing in the Chicago Board of Trade arena, I don't think I've experienced that in my lifetime! Back in '74, the Russians
Baker: The "Great Grain Robbery" they called it at the time. For our audience, the Russians came in and bought a lot of grain, suddenly overnight!
Olson: Yes, but this is even more so. And what's magnifying the problem, is that 40% of the corn is going into the gas tanks of Americans to power their cars! And the way this was set up, is that they let farmers invest in these ethanol plants, so they've been getting the benefit of government subsidies. So farmers have sort of adopted the idea that this "green energy" is great. But in the long run, this is a destructive force in our country.
Inflation: The inputs, we used to have a lot of this controlled by cooperatives. But the cartels, of the stripe of Cargill and so forth, have gone into fertilizers and monopolized the market. And so potash would come from the Estevan, Saskatchewan area, and now that's Mosaic, which is a spinoff from Cargill. They bought up the farmland and the [Minnesota-based] Cenex fertilizer facilities, and so potash is up 29% from a year ago in price. And their production costs did not go up 29%: This is predatory, this is parasites, again.
Sulfur, which is more of a secondary mineral that farmers use, has gone up 32%; nitrogen is off the charts. And that's been taken almost out of the U.S., where it was primarily manufactured, and now it's like in Trinidad, and the Middle East. And things have gotten so globalized that the small service co-ops that provide this kind of service to the farmers, have to have millions of dollars to finance this, and you know, the cartelsit's just predatory out here. I just can't imagine how our food system has been degraded.
Again, I guess you can look to Wall Street and the City of London, and these people that are running the speculative markets: They're just gaming the system, just making money for their own selfishness, as opposed to the bigger picture of destruction of this country. That's what this is all about: Just destroy America. We'll do it through environmentalism, and speculation, and then globalizing things. We'll shut down the mines, we'll shut down the manufacturing, and you can just cite chapter and verse on how America's been pulled down!
Earlier, talking about FDR and what he did, this wasn't just in Minnesota and Montana; this was throughout the country. The Soil Conservation Service had a tremendous impact on production! And we've had land grant universities, but they've been defunded because of austerity, and they're just a shadow of what the land grant universities were. And now they're just appendages for the cartels, for Monsantoit's too bad we can't go into Monsanto on this show, but they took over the seed patent laws and got rid of those. And now we've got this "better idea" not from Ford, but Monsanto! And they've been having train wrecks with their so-called genetically modified Bt corn, which was supposed to control corn rootworm and so forth. Now, these extremely expensive seeds are not controlling the corn rootworm. The glyphosate, the Roundup herbicide, is having negative effects.
Baker: What about the price increase for the seed?
Olson: When I was first farming, it was like $25 a bushel for seed, and it was good quality seed, and it was genetically modified; now it's $300-and-some and it's going up. And then Monsanto is saying, "Well, maybe our Roundup isn't working so good, but we have this other product. We're going to revive the Lasso, Harness-type herbicide and we're going to call it Warrant. But it's only going to cost you about an arm and a leg to put it on!
Baker: And having them decide what kind of research we need, instead of our land grant colleges, as you mentioned, the system of agriculture research that gave us, for example, Norman Borlaug at the University of Minnesota in your state. He was from Iowa.
So you need the real research! We can have biotechnology on behalf of mankind, instead of on behalf of Monsanto money people.
Olson: Yes, it's really sad. I could just weep at what's been done to the land grant system. We've got one plant pathologist at the University of Minnesota...
Olson: ...and he's based up at the St. Paul campus. Well, we had plant pathologists at these experiment stations all over the state!
Baker: Well, we've run out of time. We're going to have other shows on this, and also on the work that Wayne is doing. And the other thing I want to tell people: Everything you just described, this is the breakpoint. And what we're describing is what we're going to overturn. And so we want everyone to do their all-out, beginning in the next few hours. This disaster factor on the East Coast, this is very real, and I want everyone to be watching the Weather Report series on www.larouchepac.com. Peter Martinson from the Basement research team just filmed a new one on Aug. 20 [http://archive.larouchepac.com/node/19172], on what's happening with the Sun: This is reality.
 The reference here is to the historical practiceespecially under the Federal Bureau of Reclamation, in Western statesof granting rights to landholders in river basins, to divert and use river flow for irrigation and other useful purposes. Such water rights added to food production and mitigating flooding. As riverine properties changed hands, the water rights would convey to the new owners, as long as irrigation or other specified functions continued.
In recent years, farm use has diminished in favor of recreation and real estate speculation; the water rights were revoked accordingly, and the former water-management systems discontinued.
 U.S. Secretary of Agriculture (1933-40), Vice President (1941-45).