News / Economy

California Drought Could Impact World Food Prices

California Drought Could Impact World Food Pricesi
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.
Elizabeth Lee
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.

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Comment Sorting
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.

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