News / Economy

California Drought Will Lead to Higher Food Prices

California Drought Will Lead to Higher Food Pricesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
March 14, 2014 12:09 AM
California is a major farming state, and a serious drought is hurting its farmers and raising the likelihood of higher food prices throughout the United States. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports from California's Central Valley, where water-starved farms are cutting production.
California Drought Will Lead to Higher Food Prices
Mike O'Sullivan
California is a major farming state, and a serious drought is hurting its farmers and raising the likelihood of higher food prices throughout the United States. In the state's Central Valley water-starved farms are cutting production.

Last year was the driest on record in California, and this year may be just as dry.  

Some reservoirs are empty and the Sierra mountain snow pack, which melts and fills rivers in the springtime, is at dangerously low levels -- just one quarter of normal.  

Farmers warn of another "Dust Bowl" -- referring to the drought and dust storms that ravaged American farmlands in the 1930s.  

California produces nearly half of the United States' fruits and vegetables, and much of it comes from the state's sprawling Central Valley.  

Dan Errotabere is a third generation farmer who grows tomatoes, walnuts, garlic and other crops in Fresno County. The federal agency that controls the water released from dams and the river system has cut his water supplies to zero.

“The last couple of years, dry years, coupled with severe environmental restrictions, has now presented us with a zero allocation year," said Errotabere.

More than 200,000 hectares of prime farmland may go unplanted in the Central Valley. Errotabere will let more than 20 percent of his farm lie fallow and lay off 10 of 25 workers.

“Right now, we're completely depending on wells to finish these crops off, but I'm going to be fallowing [not planting on] 1,200 acres [485 hectares] of our operation. There won't be anything growing on there,” he said.

Even years with good rainfall have seen reduced water allocations, as federal and state officials supply water to the Sacramento River Delta, home of delta smelt and other endangered species.  

Errotabere -- and other farmers -- say the water system is mismanaged and that his high-efficiency drip irrigation system offers little help without supplies of water.

Ryan Jacobsen of the Fresno County Farm Bureau said the shortage is forcing hard decisions. “The severity of this drought will be seen for possibly a decade to come because of the effects it's going to have on permanent crops and the likelihood that many of these permanent crops may have to come out of the ground.”

Those permanent crops include citrus, walnuts and grapes.

The effects have not hit the nation's consumers yet, but inevitably they will, as shortages lead to higher prices.  

Jon Murga of Fresco Community Markets in Los Angeles said politicians need to come up with an answer to the water crisis.

“Because that, at this moment, seems to me to be the most important thing that we need to be addressing. Long term, short term, intermediate term, however you choose to look at it,” said Murga.

Murga said rising food costs in California will affect the entire country. And since California is a major exporter of food, it also will affect markets overseas.  

Long-term solutions include conservation and recycling waste water, building desalination plants and -- farmers say -- better management of the state's water system.

You May Like

Report: $60 Billion Leaves Africa Illegally Each Year

Report by a joint UN and African Union panel says African countries need to take concrete measures to stop billions of dollars from illegally being moved out of continent each year More

Video Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relations

Some analysts say Russian Tu-95 bombers were flying near British airspace to warn Britain about an inquest into a murdered Russian spy More

Mugabe Defends Image Amid Controversy at Close of AU Summit

He rejects concerns about how the West might perceive his leadership, saying he's focused on African development More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relationsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
January 31, 2015 10:50 PM
Relations between Russia and the West are set to become even more strained amid an inquiry in London into the murder of a former Russian spy. Lawyers at the inquiry accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of directing a "mafia state." Meanwhile, Royal Air Force fighters intercepted Russian bombers close to British airspace this week, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relations

Relations between Russia and the West are set to become even more strained amid an inquiry in London into the murder of a former Russian spy. Lawyers at the inquiry accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of directing a "mafia state." Meanwhile, Royal Air Force fighters intercepted Russian bombers close to British airspace this week, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Neighborhood Divided Over Conflict

People in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk districts find themselves squarely in the path of advancing Russian-backed rebels, who want to take back the territory they held at the beginning of the conflict last year. Many local residents are afraid, but others would welcome the change, even when a rebel shell lands in their neighborhood. From the Luhansk district, 15 kilometers from where the Ukrainian government marks the front line, VOA’s Al Pessin reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8845
JPY
USD
117.71
GBP
USD
0.6643
CAD
USD
1.2669
INR
USD
62.019

Rates may not be current.