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Obama Pledges Federal Aid for Drought Stricken California

U.S. President Barack Obama is offering millions of dollars in federal aid to help the state of California overcome the effects of severe drought.

In a visit to Fresno, California, Friday, the president also said he would seek $1 billion from Congress to help communities across the country to manage the effects of climate change.

Mr. Obama drew a connection between the drought in California and the broader impact that he said climate change is having on the country. He said a changing climate means that droughts, floods, and other natural disasters will last longer and will be potentially harsher.

California, which is the biggest food producer in the country, is suffering its worst drought in more than 100 years.

The measures mentioned by the president include $100 million in disaster assistance for livestock owners, $15 million in targeted conservation assistance, and $60 million in aid for food banks. The assistance is part of a farm bill that the U.S. Congress recently passed.

While in California, Mr. Obama met with farmers and community leaders to learn about the effects of the drought on local agriculture.

One farmer, Sarah Woolf, said more must be done to address the long-term causes of drought in California.

"We are very grateful that the president is coming and recognizing that we have a problem, however there's not much he can do to fix the problem today. It's a long-term fix that we need. We need to better manage our water supply in California and have a more balanced approach to how we deliver water."

Mr. Obama acknowledged that California must work towards long-term solutions to the state's water issues. He said everyone in the state must start rethinking how they approach water for decades to come.

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