Turning our attention from Semitropic, let’s look at another farming operation that receives Delta water: Woolf Farming and Processing, a member of the Westlands Water District. A very nice website reports that this family-owned business is “committed to sustainably farming each crop to ensure the highest quality product while conserving our precious natural resources.” It lists “a wide range of crops including almonds, pistachios, wheat, garlic, hay, onions, spinach, tomatoes, grapes, walnuts and roses.”
But between 1995 and 2010, the Woolf Family Trust No. 1 of Fresno received $2,006,993 in cotton subsidies. And Woolf Farming Company of Fresno received $1,055,316 in cotton subsidies.
In 1989, the Woolfs joined forces with the owner of Harris Ranch to form Harris Woolf Almonds, based in Coalinga. Two years ago, Harris Woolf was able to report its second largest shipment of almonds ever, despite the 2009 drought – the same year salmon fisheries were closed.
The Woolfs are doing some good things, including supporting a community garden to feed hungry families in the area. Their marketing portrays an appealing vision of what sustainable farming can do, but it is predicated on water deliveries that can’t be guaranteed without destroying sustainable farming and fisheries in the Delta. When one looks beyond the pretty website, it becomes clear that they are marketing pseudo sustainability to Californians.