by Jim Morris

A wise farmer that I respect greatly recently said “Hope is not a strategy.” Fortunately, sound strategy is in place that will better enable the Sacramento Valley survive a drought that has extended to four years. Hope is still a valuable ingredient in persevering the worst drought in a generation.

After a big storm in February, the rainfall essentially stopped and temperatures rose, media began calling me in greater numbers, seeking the answer to what this season will be like for our rice farmers and mills. It’s a question still without a definitive answer.

Admittedly a tough situation has gotten tougher. It also appears likely that the 2015 toll will be greater than last year’s losses in our region.

As I drove through rice country recently, seeing soil turned over in preparation for planting, a feeling slowly returned – one of hope. Driving past a canal next to rice ground, I spotted an egret, a pair of grebes and these industrious swallows gathering mud for their nests.

Mere seconds later, I drove past another canal with a pair of Mallard Ducks enjoying the solitude.

These isolated scenes don’t shake the reality that it will be a long and difficult road in our region and many areas of the state. However, seeing tractors in the field and wildlife still on the landscape brings me comfort.

These scenes also provide hope that the drought will soon give way to rainfall and renewal.

Rice has been grown in California for more than a hundred years. Hope will be one of the keys to maintaining that success for generations to come.

Jim Morris is Communications Manager for the California Rice Commission. Jim has worked in communications for more than 20 years. When he’s not on the job, he enjoys his family, faith, football, outrageous monster stories and running marathons.