Smaller California farms hamstrung by drought and water shortages

As the drought continues to worsen, many water-use limitations and regulations will be enforced upon all California residents and businesses. Several restrictions have already been enacted, leaving farmers unable to pull water from streams and rivers.

According to American Farm Bureau statistics, this means that the drought is endangering the livelihoods of almost 78,000 small farmers in California.

Out of necessity, many small farmers have doubled down on their resourcefulness by increasing their efficiency of agricultural water use. Drip irrigation has grown rapidly, almost replacing gravity irrigation as a method of watering crops. This will have far-reaching implications for the future of California’s agriculture.

Earlier this year, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack declared California’s 58 counties as a primary natural disaster area due to recent drought, allowing for farm operations in impacted counties to be eligible for certain assistance available through the USDA Farm Service Agency.

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