Farmers and ranchers are quickly becoming the newest endangered species. Each time a court restricts farmers and ranchers from using their own land, their own water supplies, or protecting their livestock because of an endangered species another farmer or ranchers is forced to stop producing food. The most recent example of this was in March of this year when a California appeals court ruled for environmentalists over farmers water rights in order to protect a small fish known as the Delta smelt. In a state that has been suffering with severe drought a decision to restrict the allocation of water to farmers and ranchers in order to protect a three-inch bait fish seems almost ludicrous. Michael Smith, representing the family owned Harris Ranch based in California, spoke before a House Agriculture subcommittee last week regarding the state of the beef industry and told those gathered there that because of this type of ESA ruling, which has resulted in a severely restricted allocation of water to area farmers and ranchers, Harris Ranch would be forced to leave fallow 2/3 of all the ground they farm. There are numerous federal rules and regulations, many of which Smith touched on during his testimony, that are literally strangling U.S. farmers and ranchers, making them the number one endangered species in the country.