California Farmers Brace for Drought, Unemployment
MENDOTA, Calif. (AP) — Amid California’s driest year on record, the nation’s leading agricultural region is locked in drought and bracing for unemployment to soar, sending farm workers to food lines in a place famous for its abundance.
One-third of the Central Valley’s jobs are related to farming. Strains on water supplies are expected to force farmers to leave fields unplanted, creating a ripple effect on food processing plant workers, truck drivers and those who sell fertilizer, irrigation equipment and tractors. The list goes on.
Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a drought emergency, and state water officials say the snow pack is at 12 percent of normal. It’s unlikely that farmers will get the irrigation water they need, leaving many workers unemployed. Those who run food banks are gearing up for a hard year.