Golden Gate University Environmental Law Journal


Lloyd G. Carter


This Article shows how a long American tradition of helping small farmers has, in the past few decades, morphed into a massive government aid program for large industrialized agribusiness operations—a program that not only drives small farmers off the land but also perpetuates rural poverty because agribusiness requires huge numbers of low-paid, seasonal harvest workers, many of whom are undocumented workers who choose to stay in the United States. Part II reviews the history and evolution of publicly subsidized farming in the Valley. Part III discusses the creation of the Westlands irrigation district as representing the archetype of large "factories in the fields" agribusiness. Part IV addresses the environmental drainage problem created because of the Westlands‘ irrigation project and its implications for the surrounding communities. Part IV identifies the region‘s social problems and illustrates how federal subsidies have contributed to these deficiencies.