California has long been thought to be the land of fruits and nuts. The actions of its state government too often support that characterization. In recent years, government has deprived the breadbasket of America, California’s San Joaquin Valley, of much needed water to save a three-inch bait fish. Not to be out done, an agency is now seeking to displace prime dairy land to accommodate rail tracks for an utterly unneeded high-speed train. Why punish dairy farmers you ask? Because they don’t want to harm a bird sanctuary. In that way, and sundry others, California government deliberately destroys its own economy and literally is for the birds.

Not long ago, a major CEO from California’s tech industry said, “The killer factor in California for a manufacturer to create . . . a thousand blue-collar jobs is a hostile government that doesn’t want you there and demonstrates it in thousands of ways.” Of course, Cypress Semiconductor CEO T.J. Rodgers was talking about one of California’s leading industries. His conclusion, however, is not limited to California’s tech industry. It certainly applies to California’s #1 industry: agriculture.

For years, environmentalists, backed by dubious court decisions, have all but openly declared war on Central Valley farming – all in the name of saving a three-inch bait fish. In order to “save” the delta smelt, government shut down water supplies to farmers. The result has not been a simple academic exercise in environmental extremism.

Keep in mind that the California Central Valley was in the throws of a drought when government piled on and deprived growers of water to save a non-indigenous fish. In other words, rather than help farmers, government made the drought far worse. The economic impact has been staggering, including losses of over ¾ billion dollars in farm output and over $300 million in income for farmers in 2009 alone. Unemployment has hit over 40% in some Central Valley communities and over 250,000 acres were plowed under.

If you keep in mind that the California economy is roughly 17% of the nation’s economy and its agricultural industry is 16% of the state’s economy, this war on agriculture becomes all the more insane – not to mention that all of this is occurring in a state that is suffering from huge deficits and which is claiming to look for new revenue streams.

It hardly stops there however. This past month, California’s high-speed rail commission determined that its preferred route for this woefully underfunded, subsidy magnet boondoggle would have threatened a bird sanctuary. What to do? They decided to reroute it through a job producing, tax paying dairy — without even telling the farmer in question.

Where do people fit in, you ask? Who rates highest in the eyes of government bureaucrats: people, birds or cows? I guess the answer is birds…because the other two produce global warming gases in their world.

In the real world, however, Californians struggle with the nation’s second highest employment rate, the nation’s worst foreclosure crisis and underemployment above 20%. Without any relief in sight, it has to be asked why California government is killing off the farmers that grow fruits and nuts all in the name of fish and birds? The answer, of course, isn’t blowing in the wind, even if the dust of former California farmland is.