Farmers and their perspective
Central Arizona farmers are often seen as villains who should not farm thirsty or low value crops in a dry state. Climate change, economic challenges and water shortages increase the tension.
„Our Desert Farms” gives voice to three Central Arizona farmers who have farmed for generation and are forced to adapt to keep the tradition alive.
Data that helped shaped the film
Arizona crops contribute to the economy about $1.8 billion per year.
Alfalfa hay is the number one crop of Arizona. In 2008, Arizona's hay crop sold for $288 million.
Arizona agriculture is the the main user of water, about 70%. In the past, this percentage was as high as 90%. Reductions have been the result of urbanization of agricultural lands and investment in conservation.
The Central Arizona Project (CAP) delivers water from the Colorado River to areas in central Arizona. The 336 canal brings water to municipal users in Mesa, Phoenix and Scottsdale. to agricultural irrigation districts (Maricopa-Stanfield Irrigation District), and to a dozen American Indian communities.
CAP water is also transported to groundwater recharge facilities for storage.
Intrigued by the ongoing conversation about water shortages, farming in a dry state and the role of subsidies and crop insurance polices, the film crew set on to meet people whose lives and businesses are tied to these issues.
By setting the scene with voices of the local university experts, the film explains complex concepts in a straightforward and honest fashion. One of the film's goals is to introduce the reality of farming in Central Arizona to audiences unfamiliar with this region.
Farmers' perspective personalizes the issues of water scarcity, uncertainties of economy and climate change. Understanding their
point of view helps identify and seek solutions.
The film does not provide a clear answer to the ongoing problems, but aims to raise environmental awareness and spark a discussion about dependency on farming and the efficiency of its practices in relation to climate change and global economy.