Fallow fields, healthy trees being ripped out by the hundreds — this is the image that many California farmers are facing due to the state’s failure to plan for drought. Despite California farms being some of the most water efficient in the world, unrelenting policies and drastic water cuts are forcing farmers to pull back on food production — putting the U.S.’s independent, national food supply at risk.
Over 60 percent of the American West, Southwest, and Central Plains are considered under D3 — severe droughts or higher. Seventeen states that account for nearly half of the nation’s $364 billion in agricultural production are struggling with water shortages, including California.
While California may not always come to mind when you think of agricultural producers, the state is the largest agricultural state in the country producing 60 percent of all U.S.-grown fruits, vegetables, and tree nuts. Production cuts by farmers in the state will lead to higher food prices and fewer food choices on the shelves.
Simply put: An abundant and domestic food supply requires water. A new video series debuted by Western Growers consists of several short documentary videos giving first-hand accounts of how unrelenting, historic droughts are hurting California farmers.
Produced in association with the California Farm Water Coalition, the videos show the drought’s impact on consumers via stories from Booth Ranches in Orange Cove, Del Bosque Farms in Firebaugh, HMC Farms in Kingsburg, and Woolf Farming in Huron.
The series titled Water for Farms can be seen here:
Booth Ranches: Oranges
Almost 90 percent of fresh oranges in the store come from California. So far, Booth Ranches has pulled 100 acres of healthy orange trees — the equivalent of eight million pounds of oranges.
Del Bosque Farms: Cantaloupes
Cantaloupe farmers have invested billions of dollars on water saving technologies. Despite their best preparations, Del Bosque Farms has cut cantaloupe production by 15 percent — the equivalent of 3 million pounds of cantaloupes gone from grocery store shelves.
HMC Farms: Plums
Almost all plums come from California. Yet, HMC Farms has ripped out 100 acres of farm trees. Nearly three million pounds of plums gone from the grocery shelves — enough to cut out plums from the diets of 1 million Americans.
Woolf Farming: Tomatoes
Woolf Farming produces processing tomatoes, and the state of California is responsible for 90 percent of all processing tomatoes grown in the United States. Yet, Woolf Farming has cut production by 50 percent. Fewer tomatoes means more dollars spent by consumers on ketchup, pizza sauce, tomato soup, and more.