News / Economy

    California Drought Could Impact World Food Prices

    California Drought Could Impact World Food Pricesi
    X
    January 27, 2014 5:12 PM
    The western United States has been in a drought, and that includes California, where many of the fruits and vegetables for the country are grown. Southern California is experiencing a record-breaking drought, and the forecast looks grim. Elizabeth Lee reports from Riverside, California on what this could mean to farmers and the price of food.
    Southern California, where many fruits and vegetables for the country are grown, is experiencing a recording-breaking drought, which could impact world food prices in 2014.

    'Not looking good'

    Andy Domenigoni is a fourth generation grower in Riverside, California. He says there are good years and bad years, and this year things are not looking good.  

    “I have some fields that we planted almost a month ago that are still not out of the ground,” Domenigoni said.

    He says normally it takes five to seven days for the wheat to sprout, but not this year. He points to a brown field behind him.

    “This field was planted two weeks ago and it is just bone dry. The seed is not in any moisture," he said. "It can’t sprout. We got to wait for the rain.”

    Waiting for rain

    Domenigoni is not the only one waiting for rain. The western United States has been in a drought that has been building for more than a decade, according to climatologist Bill Patzert of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

    “Ranchers in the West are selling off their livestock," Patzert said. "Farmers all over the Southwest, from Texas to Oregon, are fallowing in their fields because of a lack of water. For farmers and ranchers, this is a painful drought.”

    It may be painful for those who depend on rain, but Patzert says drought is actually the norm in the history of the American West, with some dry periods that have lasted up to 50 years. In Southern California, this drought is turning into one of the worst in recorded history.

    “Historically, in 135 years of record-keeping, this has been the driest," Patzert said. "Since July 1, we’ve had less than an inch of rain. In January, which is historically our wettest month, we’ve had zero rainfall. In my lifetime, I’ve never seen anything like this.”

    Greater impact

    A drought such as the one in California has a greater impact now than it did 50 years ago because of the growth in population and economic development. The state is the biggest food producer in the United States in terms of dollars of produce sold.

    “The short-term impact is going to be higher food prices," said Milt McGiffen, a field crop expert at the University of California. "The longer-term impact is going to be you’re just not going to have as much production in the country. It’s part of an overall trend in the next 50 years.”

    He says as the population increases, the amount for water per person is decreasing.

    “Either you’ll find a technological way around it or enough people will die, and the population will crash and it’ll take care of it," McGiffen said. "So, in cold hard terms, that’s exactly what you’re looking at.”

    And what happens in California does not just affect the United States.

    ”Here in California, we’re the breadbasket of the United States, but also we export tremendous volumes of fruits, vegetables and even cattle overseas," Patzert said. "And so when these terrible droughts hit and production drops, this echoes around the globe.”

    According to the United Nations, global food prices for 2013 were among the highest on record. Food experts in California won't know how much the drought in the western U.S. will affect the price of food in 2014 until later this year. As for farmers, experts agree there is no quick fix for their need for water.

    You May Like

    California Republicans Mull Choices in Presidential Race

    Ted Cruz tells state's Republican Convention delegates campaign will be 'battle on the ground, district by district by district,' ahead of June 7 primary

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, many Kurds are trying to escape turmoil by focusing on success of football team Amedspor

    South African Company Designs Unique Solar Cooker

    Two-man team of solar power technologists introduces Sol4, hot plate that heats up so fast it’s like cooking with gas or electricity

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: paul from: California
    February 16, 2014 8:39 PM
    California is cursed from the Child Endangerment by Gov. Brown to Yeshua AwoGbade at the.hands of Judge Jane Ure. The drought is only.the beginning...

    by: John Redmond
    January 30, 2014 1:55 AM
    Yes its not Just the NWO but The Few global elites like the Rothchild clan with 500 to 700 trillion in wealth and for what purpose- to control the EU,USA,Africa, etc. We need to break off from the Global criminal NWO and UN and be a constitutional Republic again and take care of US. that means pulling our troops out of the countries around the world that are doing nothing more than protecting the interest of Rothchild and friends. Yes we are at the end of the 500 year warming cycle of the Earth and nothing can be done about as we cannot control the natural 500 year warming and then the cooling cycle of the Earth.

    by: Mos Constantin from: Romania
    January 28, 2014 5:57 PM
    The planet is not overpopulated is just mismanaged. The way the planet is managed needs to change (and nature will force us to change that) and overpopulation will not be a problem to date. The rest will be a problem for future generations.

    by: letsturnbacktoGod from: Toronto
    January 28, 2014 9:30 AM
    The lack of rain is because of the sins of our people. We need to repent, that is, turn back to God. And not just in some superficial sense, but in a real way. We need to change our ways, which repentance requires. We have become a wasteful people and God doesn't love those who waste. It's said that if it wasn't for the animals God would not send down rain because the sins of people. It seems now that our sins have become so great that God will allow the animals to perish as well, which inevitably means we perish. Perhaps this is a form of divine justice for as the International community sits by and watches/contributes to the slaughter of Syrians, the oppression of Palestenians, the poverty of Africa, etc., etc.,

    God is watching our heedlessness, our excesses and carelessness. The fact is over the last 50 or more years, the US on the whole has become an increasingly hedonistic society, where today the vast majority of teenagers have never been inside a church. In fact, today the majority of children are born out of wedlock. It was said by a prophet of God, "when bastard children become prevalent amongst you, prepare for the wrath of God". We have killed families with our lack of morals, and we are killing the environment, our mother earth, with the same. And now, our sins are coming to haunt us. In the meantime, we seek to speed up our own destruction by spreading corruption like same sex marriage throughout the world. We need to turn back before it's too late. May God forgive us all.
    In Response

    by: Informed from: San Diego, CA
    January 28, 2014 11:07 AM
    Are you serious? See, I have NO problem with religious people but when it gets in the way of a rational, reasonable person; THAT'S when I have a problem. Do you know anything about HAARP and chemtrails? Do you know ANYTHING about the "Secret Society" or the NWO? Don't you know that ALL the people that control the world, our money, our food, which is now being purposely poisoned, are the very same people who believe what you believe and go to church? WHY hasn't "God" dealt with them?

    They are SO powerful, I guess apparently more powerful than God. God cannot control anything because he does not exist in the sense you have been "told" that he does. If he did, He would NEVER allow this to happen. WAKE up and realize that the people of the NWO control EVERYTHING and there isn't anything "God" can do about it. The only people who can do anything about it is civilians. But everyone is too busy watching their idiot box and having their lives being run by "institutions"...such as the church and corporate America. ANYONE who believes in "God" and is willing to say "God" doesn't want people to be happy (same sex marriages) just PROVES that religion is a hoax.

    NO "LOVING" God would EVER turn His back on two people that are in love and want to be happy. Believing in God? ...sure. believing that "He" is not ok with gay marriage but yet church goers support government and war and thievery of the banks, THAT is sick and wrong. When has ANYONE from the church stood up publicly and fought for homeowners that had their homes purposely stolen by the banks, or farmers being ransacked by Monsanto. Maybe if you read more than the bible, you would know what you are talking about!

    by: MikeBarnett from: USA
    January 27, 2014 2:49 PM
    We have had a similar problem in Texas. Rainfall since 2000 has been about 20% to 25% below normal for each year. Temperatures have been about 5% to 10% above normal for each year. January of 2014 has been colder than normal but rainfall has fallen 87% and may drop 90% if it does not rain before the 31st. Lake levels are about eight and a half feet (102 inches) below normal and dropping. Further, the winds are stronger, but they remove moisture and bring in dust and smoke. Some use wood burning fireplaces to cut heating bills because the drought has caused tree branches to fall and provide free firewood. The future of the US food supply does not look good.
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    January 28, 2014 1:03 AM
    Why anyone would be burning wood in a fireplace (or driving alone to work in a massive pickup or SUV) in these conditions of extreme drought and irrefutable climate change is beyond me. Brainwashed by the GOP. And just plain damn stupid.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    World Currencies

    EUR
    USD
    0.8769
    JPY
    USD
    107.28
    GBP
    USD
    0.6842
    CAD
    USD
    1.2528
    INR
    USD
    66.384

    Rates may not be current.