August 13, 2022
California’s idle crop land may double as water crisis deepens
MERCED – (INT) – Agricultural officials are warning that California’s historic drought may leave the state with the largest amount of empty farmland in recent memory.

Farmers are facing unprecedented cuts to crucial water supplies.

It’s estimated the size of fields intended for almonds, rice, wine grapes and other crops left unworked could be around 800,000 acres. That’s double the size of last year and the most in at least several decades, said Josue Medellin-Azuara, an associate professor at University of California Merced.

The figure is preliminary as researchers continue to look at satellite imaging and other data.

Medellin-Azuara is leading an economic study on farm production and droughts with funding from the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

Much of the idle land is in the Central Valley, which accounts for about a quarter of US food production.
Story Date: July 19, 2022
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