Young Farmers Bring the West’s Historic Drought Straight to the Nation’s Capital

With the Southwest in exceptional drought, seven young farmers and ranchers from the Colorado River Basin made the trek to D.C. to tell Members of Congress and USDA about the importance of federal support for drought resilience and water conservation. Despite the pressures of the season, they left their farms and ranches to bring their stories to Washington.  The group touched down in D.C. on June 11 and, along with NYFC policy staff, met with over 20 Congressional offices and three USDA offices over the next day and a half. First on the agenda was to share their concern over the current and impending drought conditions in the Colorado River Basin. Michael Kotutwa Johnson, a Hopi farmer and PhD Candidate at the University of Arizona whose people have been raising crops in the semi-arid Southwest for over 2,000 years, flew out from Arizona. “What makes Hopi unique is we plant, tend and harvest our crops - beans, melons, corn, and squash - in an area that only receives 6-10 inches of annual precipitation,” Michael said. Another Arizona farmer, Selwyn Justice, operator, along with his dad, of a cow-calf operation and the oldest continuously cultivated citrus orchard in the state, warned his elected officials about the potential[...]Read More