The drought in California and its effects on the farming industry are ongoing, and the families who own those businesses as well as the workers who usually would pull a paycheck from jobs there are looking ahead at a rough year. This illustrates what is so devastating in a drought such as the one being seen in California — the effects of it trickle down from owners to their hired staff and to you and me in the produce aisle.
Jay Lund, an engineering professor at the water resource and environmental planning department of the University of California, told The New York Times that this drought falls somewhere between the third and sixth worst of all time, but notes that “while we may have more water than we did in other droughts, it has to stretch further,” with a larger population and bigger farm systems, as well as more stringent environmental regulation of water so as to protect fish and wildlife.
The New York Times also spoke with one affected farmer at the end of April, Todd Allen, who discussed the reduction in crops and crop variation that he and his brother Joel would need to do to get through the year. Basically he’s looking at cutting out melons entirely, possibly cutting out winter wheat, and perhaps growing nothing but cotton with “one shot of water when it gets to a certain height.”