Slime ranchers: ‘I could eat a horse’
With the drought hitting, the Slim Ranch in southern California is already suffering from a lack of water.
And the Ranch’s owner, Mike DeAngelo, is desperate to find a way to survive.
Slime rancers: ‘If you come in here and you see this, you will get hit with a law suit’Slime ranch owners Mike DeAngelis and David Wertz both fear that the state of California’s drought law will allow them to sue farmers and ranchers if they don’t meet certain performance standards.
The state’s drought-related law prohibits a California company from being involved in the production or sale of water unless they have to comply with certain performance measures.
DeAngeles and Werts want to take advantage of that law by suing anyone who isn’t meeting those standards.
They’re in it for the money, DeAngelas says.
And he’s been fighting against the law since he started his company, the Slime Ranch, in 1998.
The Slime Rancher’s Association, which represents California’s slime farmers, estimates that the drought has cost the ranch more than $5 million in lost revenue, according to an analysis by California Farm Bureau President Bill Sikes.
The association also estimates that nearly 2,000 farmers and ranching businesses have lost money because of the drought, costing California taxpayers $1.3 billion in lost agricultural income.
DeAngeles said he has been battling the drought for years and has no intention of giving up.
His family has been selling the ranch for $50,000 per acre, or $1,400 per day, since the 1980s, he said.
The ranch is still a source of income, he added, but it’s not the main source of money for his family.
He and Wirtz have been working to raise money to buy a small, one-acre plot of land on the farm so that they can keep the ranch going.
It’s just not enough money to make up for all the losses, he told the AP.
DeAngelo says he’s not a billionaire or the king of California slime farming.
He’s a hard-working man, he’s a good farmer, and he’s working hard to make sure he has enough water to keep the farm going.
But DeAngelos and Wartz don’t have much money to help the ranch survive.
They have about $200,000 in assets, and the ranch’s value is just about $10,000, according the AP’s analysis of data from California Farm Bulletin.
They need a lot of help.
The ranch is about 70 acres, but the area has only about 1,600 acres left.
It needs more water to survive, and if the drought continues, that land will likely be gone within the next couple of years, DeAngelo said.
He said he’s looking to raise $3,000 a day to buy land next to his ranch, but DeAngelys’ family is already getting ready to move.
Deangelo said the ranch is worth about $500,000.
That means he can’t spend more than about $2,000 every two weeks, he noted.
He has a mortgage on the ranch, and DeAngelo doesn’t have any cash on hand to pay it off.
Deangelis said he would also like to take on more land in the future to increase the amount of water the ranch can provide, but he needs more money to do so.
He also said he plans to take the ranch private.
The AP’s findings were based on a review of more than 100 documents and interviews with state and federal agencies, farmers, ranchers and environmental groups.
DeAngelo told the Associated Press that he’s willing to do whatever it takes to make his ranch profitable, and to make it as water-rich as possible.
De Angelis, however, said he hasn’t been able to find enough land to take over, or enough land in California to build a larger ranch.
He said he could buy land in other states if he wanted to, but California’s laws are too strict.
DeLauris said there’s a “dramatic” change happening in the drought.
He says he plans on finding land next year to build his ranch and hopes to expand his business as water levels improve.
“We’re just kind of in a very sad state,” DeLauras said.