|House panel meeting in Fresno hears emotional impact of Calif. drought|
From: Mark Grossi, Fresno Bee
Larry Starrh's voice choked with emotion Wednesday as he told congressional members of his family's decision to dry up 1,000 acres of almonds this year and let the trees die due to water shortages.
"Shortages that were created and controlled by regulations that have been imposed and brandished like weapons," the Kern County farmer said. "Sadly, in the real world, water is about power, water is a weapon, water is a hostage."
From: Dale Kasler, Sacramento Bee
When spring arrives, the Central Valley farm fields owned by Harris Ranch normally come to life with tomatoes, lettuce and watermelons. This year, much of the land has been left dry and bare.
California's epic drought is being felt all over rural California, from small family farms to agribusiness giants such as Harris. Growers are fallowing land, tapping expensive groundwater and rationing supplies to keep their orchards and vineyards alive. This downshift will cost the state billions of dollars in lost economic activity and translate into higher food prices for consumers.
|Fallowed farmland acreage estimate jumps to 800,000|
From: Staff, Western Farm Press
The California Farm Water Coalition has upgraded its estimate of acres farmers will leave idle this year to 800,000, up from 500,000, because of a lack of water. "Farmers are still waiting to the last minute to determine their planting schedules this year in hopes that the water situation will improve," said Mike Wade, executive director of the California Farm Water Coalition.
|Why California's Drought Impacts Every American Who Buys Food|
From: Terrell Johnson, The Weather Channel
Prices for meat, eggs, fresh fruits and vegetables and a wide range of other foods shot up last month, the federal government reported Tuesday, thanks largely to the searing drought that has gripped the western United States for months on end.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said food prices rose 0.4 percent between January and February in a report released Tuesday, which follows an earlier report by the Department of Agriculture that said food prices are expected to rise 2.5 to 3.5 percent this year over 2013 levels.
|Representatives call for more Valley water, storage |
From: Staff, The Business Journal
A congressional committee met at a full Fresno City Hall on Wednesday, taking up California's drought crisis and calling for freeing up more water and the construction of large reservoirs and dams.
The House Natural Resources Committee heard testimony from Central Valley farmers, community leaders and state water officials. Many speakers at the hearing titled "California Water Crisis and its Impacts: The Need for Immediate and Long-Term Solutions," took sharp aim at the environmental community for becoming extreme and one-sided in its approach to water.
|California hosts congressional drought hearing|
From: Scott Smith, AP
Farmers holding signs protesting dramatic cuts to their irrigation supplies packed Fresno City Hall for a congressional hearing Wednesday, delving into the politics of California's drought crisis striking the state's agricultural heartland.
Visalia farmer Michael Malmgren's sign had the words "Water is the heart of the matter," surrounding a big, pink heart.