According to the California Farm Water Coalition (CFWC) – the largest organization to focus solely on farm water with 5.6 million irrigated acres in California – lack of adequate rainfall this season will leave 800,000 acres of farmland (up from 500,000) left unplanted.
While many farmers desperately hope to see a turnaround in the persistently dry conditions, it’s not looking good. The longer these conditions continue, the more acres of farmland left unplanted. With the end of the “rainy” season quickly approaching, the odds of returning to a normal water year are slim.
Based on recent survey results, the negative impacts of the drought to California’s economy are astronomical.
- Farm production and associated business losses have increased about 50% to $7.48 billion according to February estimates.
- On-farm production losses are expected to double from $1.7 billion to approximately $3.56 billion.
- Unemployment is predicted to rise above 40% in valley communities.
- Roughly 15,000 on-farm and associated jobs will be lost, including processing, transportation, packaging as well as port jobs in Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Oakland.
- Come this spring and summer, some market watchers have predicted a 10% to 15% increase in consumer prices.
- Deliveries from other watershed sources will dwindle, with estimates ranging from above 50% to some as low as 15-25% of normal supplies.
Solutions in the face of the California drought are scarce. In fact, the drought has been called an “unsustainable situation” for farms in the times ahead. There simply is not adequate water in the system and there’s not much to be done to reverse the devastation. Had California leaders taken the drought seriously, had additional water storage facilities been built, and had the funneling of water to environmental uses been implemented into the system, then maybe the severity of the situation and its impacts would have been curtailed.
Bankers South recognizes that farming and ranching is hard work, especially in times of grim weather conditions. Our goal is to assist in any way we can when it comes to farmland financing, helping to ease the process so you can focus on your farm’s day to day operations. Our AgAmerica lending program boasts agricultural land loans that align with various needs. To learn more, contact Bankers South. One of our ag loan experts will be in touch to aid you through the ag lending process.