Colorado Springs

Megadrought forcing farmers to abandon fields – Colorado Springs, Colorado

Colorado Springs, Colorado 2021-10-14 17:59:26 –

Farmers in the San Joaquin Valley of California are suffering from a drought. It is the most productive agricultural area in the world, with 250 crops grown in 17% of the country’s irrigated land.

“It’s tough in the San Joaquin Valley,” said Professor Daniel Sumner, an agricultural economist at the University of California, Davis.

California regulators have cut farmers’ water distribution by a third due to low water levels in reservoirs.

“Our water supply is even more limited, which is less reliable and predictable,” said Jodel Bosque, owner of the Del Bosque Farm.

Del Bosque owns and operates a 2,000 acre farm in the San Joaquin Valley. He grows almonds, melons and asparagus. Del Bosque grew up in the area and worked on a farm with his parents.

The drought forced him to change his growth and the way he operates his farm.

“We have always known that water scarcity is a potential challenge for our farm, but to reach the point where it completely shuts down the farm-we know it will happen. I didn’t expect it, “said Del Bosque.

California’s water distribution is a complex two-pronged system that ranks water rights priorities and public importance. A large canal runs alongside the valley farms, moving water from the north to the south of the state. Water has already been allocated and there is very little water for the farm.

Most of the fruits and vegetables eaten in the United States are grown in this area. The farm produced 80% of the world’s almonds. Water cuts affect farm production, which farmers say is reflected in grocery stores.

“As our food supply declines, their food prices will rise,” Del Bosque said.

Del Bosque gave up the asparagus field. He moved water from low-value field crops to more profitable melon fields. Despite the move, he had to leave a 500-acre field empty instead of the plant melon. His almond grove suffers from drought as it has been forced to reduce irrigation by a third.

“The size of the nuts is important. Most people don’t know this, but big almonds earn more money than small almonds,” Del Bosque said.

Almonds in California are a big business. Four-fifths of the almonds eaten on earth are grown in the 500-mile area of ​​the San Joaquin Valley. The drought has reduced production this year by 10%. However, last year’s surplus kept the supply level constant.

Richard Waycott, President of California Almond Board, said:

The California Almond Commission has spent decades researching water efficiency to help members reduce their irrigation needs by 33%. But even with that knowledge, some almond farmers are still reducing their orchards.

“The more profitable crops that are in global demand are probably popular crops, but certainly the future of California’s agriculture could be a smaller footprint than we have today. Is expensive, “said Weicot.

Agricultural economist Sumner predicts that farmers will sacrifice field crops such as hay to protect cast crops such as almonds, grapes and walnuts. The price increase hasn’t reached the grocery store yet, but it’s hurt farmers, Sumner said.

“I don’t see it in supermarkets, but that doesn’t mean it’s not that serious for farmers,” Sumner said.

Long-range forecasts predict that next year’s average rainfall and drought may increase.

Newsy’s Scott Withers first reported this story.



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