Food & Farm News
July 16, 2014
Drought losses could top $2 billion
Billions of dollars in economic losses could have been prevented, the California Farm Bureau says, if the state had created more water storage in the years building up to this drought. In a new report, University of California specialists estimate the drought will cost more than 17,000 agricultural jobs and more than $2 billion in economic damage. Farm Bureau President Paul Wenger says the report shows the need for swift action to address the state’s water problems.
Fresno County sees crop values decline
Water shortages take much of the blame for a decline in Fresno County crop values. Fresno County perennially leads the state and nation in agricultural production, but a new report shows its crop values declined more than 2 percent last year. That means neighboring Tulare County takes over the top spot. The Fresno County agricultural commissioner says farmers there have seen drought impacts increase for three years.
Melon growers assess water situation
Availability of water has been the main topic of conversation for melon farmers as their harvest peaks. Both the amount and the quality of water could affect the harvest. Farmers who sell watermelons, cantaloupes and other melons say there have been some acreage reductions due to the drought. Many farmers who face shortages of surface water have substituted well water, but say the lower quality of groundwater could affect yields from melon fields.
Garbanzo beans tolerate dry conditions
Despite drought, acreage of garbanzo beans has remained steady in California. In part, that’s because the crop tolerates dry weather. With the popularity of the Mediterranean diet and foods such as hummus, demand for garbanzo beans has grown. In California, most garbanzos are used for canning, and canneries covet the California crop because of its high quality.