California Farming By the Numbers Water Edition

Brian German Water

As the year comes to an end, California farmers carried their way through the pandemic, market disruptions, drought, wildfires and more. California Farm Bureau‘s annual By The Numbers report showed producers persevered and kept farming, especially when it came to water challenges.

Number Water

Based on 2021, implications from a dry water year with water shortages and cut-offs are expected to have an economic impact of more the $2.5 billion dollars. There were 4,550 Central Valley farms that were cut off from surface water allocations from the Sacramento/ San Joaquin Delta due to the State Water Resource Control Board curtailment orders with more than 10,300 water rights members effected in some way. This year before the curtailments started, growers fallowed more than 500,000 acres of cropland. Farm Bureau conducted a survey with 480 farmers and ranchers regarding the state’s drought. Of the responses, 25 percent said they were highly likely to plow under crops with 41 percent saying they were extremely likely to pull out orchards based on fear of inadequate water deliveries in the future.

This past year, Farm Bureau partnered to lead a coalition of western agriculture and water entities seeking drought relief for western states. Collectively the coalition pushed for federal infrastructure legislation to fund $8 billion in repairs and investments in water storage and conveyance projects. In addition, the Farm Bureau government affairs and federal policy team secured $855 million to assist with the implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. The team brought in another $25 million dollars for producers in the Klamath River Basis which included $15 million for a drought response project, and another $10 million from USDA’s WHIP plus. The federal team also scored $500 million to support drought recovery and encourage the adoption of water-smart management practices.

With more than a third of the country’s vegetables, two-thirds of the country’s fruits and nuts grown in California and exports valued at $21.7 billion, the state’s water situation reached interests nationally and internationally. California Farm Bureau fielded more than 70 media inquires solely related to water during the summer and spring months.

To view the annual report visit this link.

About the Author

Danielle Leal

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MMJ/Anchor for AgNet West Radio Network.