California drought expected to shift crop acres

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Despite all of the ways California growers have tried to adapt to the three-year drought crippling the state, some crops are likely to disappear from the state or be significantly reduced in the future.

“There will be some definite changes, probably structural changes, to the entire industry,” as drought persists, said Bob Stallman, president, American Farm Bureau Federation. “Farmers have made changes. They’ve shifted. This is what farmers do.”

One of the shifts the state will see is growers moving away from commodity crops produced in bulk, according to Richard Howitt, a farm economist at the University of California, Davis, a Bloomberg article reports.

Where the state has advantages with high-value crops, those crops are likely to remain. These include almonds, pistachios and wine grapes. But corn, wheat and cotton are expected to be significantly reduced or may disappear from the state altogether due to their needs for water.

According to Bloomberg, “Corn acreage in California has dropped 34 percent from last year, and wheat is down 53 percent, according to the USDA. Cotton has fallen 60 percent over the past decade.”

Drought is expected to continue in California into 2015, according to the Bloomberg article. A study by the University of California, Davis, released last month, estimates drought related farm losses at $1.5 billion.

To read the full Bloomberg article, click here.

 


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