Tue, 27 Jul 2021

CANTUA CREEK, California: California farmers are leaving fields unplanted because of the ongoing drought.

California's worst drought since 1977 has forced farmer Salvador Parra, the manager of Burford Ranch in California's Central Valley, to not plant 2,000 of his 6,000 acres, while needing to dig deep for water to save the crops already planted.

"There's not very much being grown out there, just because there's no water. There's literally no water," said Parra, as quoted by Reuters.

Parra is using emergency water sources to irrigate his reduced crops.

And wells that have always provided water have dropped to far below their normal water lines.

Parra pointed towards a well that has water at the 800 feet deep level, "and we're having to pump it all the way up to the surface so that we can irrigate our crops."

The system for piping is costing the ranch thousands of dollars, Parra said.

Additionally, the price of available water is costing the farm $2,000 per acre foot, compared to the regular price of $200-$250 per acre foot.

"So, ten times the cost. We can't afford it," he said.

Parra added that the cost of the drought will ultimately be borne by consumers.

"Consumers should be worried about garlic and onions and other crops, because come this time next year, they're going to be very scarce and the cost is going to be higher," he said.

Agriculture is a critical industry for California's economy. The state is one of the nation's largest producers of vegetables, berries, nuts and dairy products.

Additionally, due to the reduction in planted fields, the workforce at the Burford Ranch has been reduced to 110 from 140.

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