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home : opinion : columns May 24, 2016

7/27/2014 6:00:00 AM
Guest Column: Farm drinks water, but loses money
Robert Fenwick
Kingman Resident

There has been a lot of print about the farm at Red Lake, so it must be time for a farm report from Long Mountain. I spent a lot of time in my younger days plowing, planting and irrigating in Buckeye. I would have to think that Mr. Rhodes is finding out that it is a lot easier to say he is going to be a farmer than it is to do. There has to be a boatload of cash being spent out in the desert and no return on the money.

Because it does not take me long to drive out to the farm from my house, I can tell you that mess he calls a crop is worthless. The crop that was planted is a grain crop. It is not alfalfa. It is ugly. The people who buy crops want clean grain or hay and not something that is full of weeds, sagebrush and creosote bushes. And I can tell you that is what has taken over his so-called crop.

All it will take to cut the mess they call a crop is a couple of riding mowers with a bumper sticker on the back that reads, "How's my driving? Call 1-800-Big Jim."

When I drive out to the farm by my house, there are two wells running 24/7 with big diesel engines pulling water out of the ground. I'm going to help Mr. Rhodes figure out what it costs. It's not that hard.

Ten gallons an hour, 24 hours a day; that's 240 gallons a day times 30 days comes to 7,200 gallons per month; at $3 a gallon for diesel fuel, that comes to $21,000 per month times two!

Lots of money out the old exhaust pipe with no return. Chris Stevens has said that six wells have been finished. At $21,000 a month per well, lots more money. I have no idea where he is getting all his money to do this, but with all the land that has been worked and the wells that have been drilled, plus the tractors and the labor, it has to be a boatload of cash.

I am starting to think with the way the desert is taking the land back that Mr. Rhodes wants to farm, maybe he should have stuck to building homes - but how quickly we forget, he wasn't very good at that either. It took a while for me to figure out what the LLC stands for in Kingman Farms. I am pretty sure it means Lose a Lotta Cash. Good luck in the desert, Mr. Rhodes.

It is nice to know that the folks on the Board of Supervisors know they were lied to and they are not going to roll over and play dead when it comes to this land swap that he wants to do. I have said it before and I say it again, Mr. Rhodes does not care one bit about what happens to the people in Mohave County. He wants our water and whatever else he can get and that is all. Jim Rhodes and his group are takers and will give you nothing in return.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, August 1, 2014
Article comment by: vock canyon

What I'd like to see is the county require Rhodes to contribute to a fund that will replant the native fauna when he finally figures out that there isn't any money in farming in the desert. The dust storms this year have been the worst since 2000. Clearly his plowing antics are causing the crazy huge dust storms. He went in and graded a road up the side of a mountain and now has abandoned it. It is an ugly thing that I must look at each day. One can see it from Stockton Hill rd. He put a roofless garage on the property, and there it has sat for the last 3 years. Ugly ugly ugly...

Posted: Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Article comment by: Roy Leggett

The only way to fight Rhodes is in court and state laws. Lets say you own a home close to Red Lakes and have a water well with plenty of fresh water. Rhodes can pump water and drain your well and there is nothing you can do since we have laws that were good in the 1800's. Call your state legislators and the governor's office. Get the laws rewritten. If you do not protect yourself, no one else will. Remember, even though they do not think so, politicians work for you. Your tax money pays their salaries.

Posted: Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Article comment by: Edward Tomchin

According to the EPA, domestic (household) water use is 7.5% of the total daily water usage in the U.S. Irrigation is the highest use of the water supply at 40% of the total daily water usage. This means that farming and agriculture water usage is more than five times that of housing and residential usage.

This is shocking enough, but to apply that usage in an arid desert community, and it becomes beyond absurd. That waste of a limited and diminishing water supply in the midst of a severe droubt is actually obscene. But the developer involved herein has shown frequently in the past that he cares little for anything but his own profit and loss statement.

The local pols need to investigate and rectify the situation.

Posted: Monday, July 28, 2014
Article comment by: Say What?

Quit bellyaching, he brought jobs to Kingman, and as a businessman he shouldn't have any job killing regulations, and he shouldn't be taxed. That's the GOP way. As we drink dust, or buy bottled water from him.

Posted: Monday, July 28, 2014
Article comment by: Roy Leggett

It's really simple to figure out. The farm uses up the water, Mohave County has no water so everyone has to buy bottled water. I would guess his money is coming out of Texas. One man has bought the water rights on the biggest aquifer in Texas, and plans to sell water to the counties and states that run out of water. The same thing is happening in Michigan. Lake Michigan has areas that are drained and moss growing where fresh water used to be. Nestlé is doing this and they, just like Mr. Rhodes, are doing the same thing. Just wait and watch, this will happen in the near future. Once the water is gone it is not replaceable.

Posted: Monday, July 28, 2014
Article comment by: Lynette Russo

All of the above are right on!!!! Another point I would like to make about water, the laws are antiquated-- old, out of date & do not deal with 21st century problems & beyond. Is any one starting a group to fight this person? The city, county & other interested parties need to come together to work on shutting this operation down before he owns Kingman.
Please if anyone is getting together a group, let me know. I would like to fight Rhodes. This is my email, kroozer66@rocketmail.com.
Also has anyone noticed the locations of his properties, strategically placed close to the most concentrated areas of water in the basins!!!!!!! We must protect this resource!!!

Posted: Monday, July 28, 2014
Article comment by: pl .....

@justanobody..."if he drills into a salt cavern" - YES, there is a God, and I can now see how He may judge Kingman are for all its sins. History wins again. I always knew it, just short on details for a while.

Posted: Monday, July 28, 2014
Article comment by: Wayne Erwin

@ justanobody sr
"Are his wells permitted?" Yes they are. You can find all his permits, 30+, registered with the Arizona Department of Water Resources under Kingman Farms LLC.

"Are they registered with the state?" Yes, see above.

"Have they been approved by the county?" Counties have no jurisdiction in water rights unless they have an AMA in place and Mohave County does not. Back in the 1990s an attempt to put one in place was shot down, there for the county has no control over water use.

"The county HAS the authority to stop his foolishness, but WILL THEY?"
See above.

"OR ARE SOME OF THEM IN rhodes pocket?" That's anyone's guess. I went to the public BOS meeting about two months ago where a presentation was made by ADRW and USGS on the subject. After the presentation the board adjourned behind closed doors were I could only presume the BOS discussed the matter. The city of Kingman BOS meet two weeks ago, which I attended, and listened to the same ADRW presentation. That board seemed to take it more seriously judging by the many questions they raised. But the bottom line is, Jim Rhodes is within his legal rights and will be unless this county forms an AMA. That can only be accomplished after it's been approved as a ballet measure in some future election.

Posted: Monday, July 28, 2014
Article comment by: Al DiCicco, Candidate for County Supervisor Dist. 4

A thorough investigation is in order. If this is true, and water is being wasted and farmed, we need to use all remedy available immediately, to demand a cease and desist. I never would want to react based only upon rumor. Perhaps we could call County Attorney Matt Smith and see what he thinks?

Posted: Sunday, July 27, 2014
Article comment by: Rick Sherwood

Do you really think the BOS are looking out for your welfare the very same welfare they swore to uphold? The short answer is no. This is going to take thought, planning and citizen participation non of which they seem to be concerned with. It's going to take leadership and concern and hopefully that will be taken care of with the election of Travis Lingenfelter. Please, please ask him how he intends to proceed you will be impressed I assure you.

Posted: Sunday, July 27, 2014
Article comment by: What a waste of our water!

Please tell me that there isn't any way for this man to SELL this water to others. Because it sounds like he doesn't know the first thing about farming or water conservation!

When I think of the large yeild I've already gotten out of my small garden and how much it's costing me in water and sewer fees to keep it growning, this man wasting all that water make me want to cry or scream or both!

Posted: Sunday, July 27, 2014
Article comment by: Biggest waste of water

Growing alfalfa is one of the most wasteful uses of water that one could come up with. Alfalfa is a low-value, highly water-intensive crop that's mostly just fed to livestock. It makes absolutely no sense to grow alfalfa in the desert.

When water planners look into the future and consider ways to preserve drinking water for cities, one recommendation that's always at the top of the list is to buy out alfalfa farms. Considering Kingman's dependence on a finite amount of ground water, it would be crazy to approve an alfalfa farm just north of town that would greatly accelerate depletion of our ground water.

Posted: Sunday, July 27, 2014
Article comment by: Uncle Anson

Y'all have been outfoxed once again. Pathetic. Land swap? You think BLM cares? You think the BOS can stop it? You want to defeat this shenanigan? Get involved. Get knowledgeable. None of the players are any smarter than you or me.

Posted: Sunday, July 27, 2014
Article comment by: justanobody sr

I firmly believe that rhodes is out to dry up kingman/ mohave county. he is still angry from his housing fiasco, and wants revenge,
He will do what ever he can to punish the Kingman area, until we finally wake up and stop his costly water wasting ordeal.
Are his wells permitted?
Are they registered with the state?
have they been approved by the county?
the county HAS the authority to stop his foolishness, but WILL THEY?
OR ARE SOME OF THEM IN rhodes pocket?
time to wake up!
are any of you aware he could potentially destroy the entire aquifer? if he drills into a salt cavern, it WILL ruin the entire aquifer!

Posted: Sunday, July 27, 2014
Article comment by: Trained Observer

Well said. Hope the BOS gets him out of our county.

Posted: Sunday, July 27, 2014
Article comment by: Glenda Erwin

Your article is right on! We live across Stockton Hill Rd. from Red Lake and have been watching this Rhodes project since about October drilling wells and plowing fields 24/7. From his history that you can read about in the Las Vegas newspapers, he has conned many people and has had lots of law suits filed against him, but the fact of the matter is, he's involved in several corporations. Each one has many permits for wells and it leads me to believe that with the drought throughout the southwest, he is "farming" water! "He who controls the water...".

According to the county meeting I attended, everything he's doing is "legal" and he's rushing to get as many wells drilled while he still can, since he will not be required to un-drill them and will have access to the aquifer running under Red Lake to sell to California, or whoever is the highest bidder.

Also, it was noted in the Las Vegas newspaper article I read he is currently building a 23,000 square foot home in Las Vegas, so evidently his shenanigans have payed well.

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