(Big Sky, MT)- Upon seeing irrigation occurring in places in Wyoming where it seemed so unnatural, I posed this question in a blog post:
It is said to be more environmentally friendly to grow crops near to populations. While Wyoming is the least populated state in the Union, they do have to eat. Which would be better environmental policy? Irrigating locally in Wyoming to feed the state's population? Or, ending the irrigation and shipping the food?
If there are no subsidies, accurate prices will lead people to make efficient decisions. If there are not, all bets are off.
I don't know whether the irrigation I saw is subsidized or not. My bet would be that it is. What I've learned about the west is that the population wouldn't be what it is, in Wyoming or any other Western state, if it weren't irrigated- and irrigation wouldn't have been undertaken privately, because the scale is too great, and the payoff too small.
Now, we all know that the crops are subsidized, especially corn.