Farmers Suffering From Drought

California is currently in its third year of drought. One of the hardest hit places is San Joaquin Valley where half of the U.S. fruits, nuts and vegetables are grown.
The problem is so bad that legislators are working day and night to figure out a plan to overhaul the state’s water management system. This plan includes rules that force residents to use 10 percent less water by 2015.
CBS reports that California is buckling down to the current drought laws. The L.A. Department of Water and Power is going around handing out warnings and $600 fines for violators.
The strict conservation efforts must be met because half of the large state is in severe drought.
Farmers are the hardest hit. Todd Allen, a wheat farmer in San Joaquin Valley, told CBS he could only harvest 40 of his 600 acres. “It’s getting to the point where give me water or give me death,” he said. “I laid off five employees and some of them have been working here anywhere from 15 to 20 years.”
Many farmers are leaving acres upon acres unplanted. Over half a million California farmland acres were not planted this season. Farmers point fingers at more than just the drought. They feel that many of the conservation laws are putting a damper on planting. One concern is the laws protecting delta smelt. Water pumps are turned down allowing less water through so the endangered fish is not sucked into the pumps.
With less produce being grown, the United States must depend on imported produce which does not always meet United States health standards. “Imported produce is three times more likely than produce that was grown in the U.S. to have salmonella or shigella or other contaminants that can sicken consumers,” said Elanor Starmar of the advocacy group Food & Water Watch.
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