For some farmers in California, there’s not enough water to grow a crop this year. Bloomberg News reports farmers north of San Francisco are not participating in farmers’ markets or produce box programs and are leaving fields empty. California grows one-third of U.S. vegetables and two-thirds of U.S. fruits and nuts.
Normally, California receives the bulk of its water needs from the winter season. However, the current drought has diminished the supply, leaving growers of specialty crops without enough water, as the La Nina weather pattern pulled winter storms away from the state. Nearly all of the 11 states in the U.S. Drought Monitor western region are suffering from some form of drought. Much of the southwest is in an extreme or exceptional drought classification. In the Four Corners states, the last 12- and 24-month periods were both the driest on record for the region. And, the western fire season, typically starting in the summer months, is already underway.