Produce Prices Expected to Rise Under Calif. Irrigation Restrictions


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iStock/Thinkstock(FRESNO, Calif.) — Shoppers can expect higher prices for produce, according to California agricultural advocates. Federal officials in California are cutting-off irrigation water from state rivers, canals and reservoirs to farmers in the Central Valley region as drought conditions persist.  

Demand for items that are usually produced with ease in the California Central Valley like tomatoes, onions, garlic and melons will rise as the drought continues, said Fresno County Farm Bureau Executive Director Ryan Jacobsen. As demand increases and along with limited production, prices will climb.

“When Fresno County and the Valley’s not producing, and depending on the regions of the world, there’s the very big assumption that we’re going to see some increases on some of these types of commodities,” Jacobsen said.

Phil Larson, who is a farmer and Fresno County Supervisor, doesn’t understand the need for the irrigation cut-off.

“They’re accusing agriculture of taking water from people.  We’re not taking water from anybody.  All we want is what we were contracted for. Give us what we were contracted for.  We’re not going to take anymore than that,” he said.

Gayle Holman of the Westlands Water District, which receives the federal water for the farmers, says a whole lot of farmland will go dry with restrictions enacted on the region’s water.

“We are anticipating about 300 square miles on the westside of Fresno and King’s County to lie idle,” she said. “That doesn’t even take into account the region.  Regionally, we are anticipating about 500,000 acres.”

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