Almond crop expected to take a massive hit

One of California's biggest cash crops is expected to take a huge hit this year because of the severe drought.
March 12, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
One of California's biggest cash crops is expected to take a huge hit this year because of the severe drought. Experts believe the impact of the drought in the Central Valley could affect the world supply.

Fourth generation grower Bill Diedtrich loves everything about farming the more than 2,000 acres he owns. He has orchards scattered all the way from Madera County to the Westside. Until now he's never worried this much about paying for water. "Water has become such a precious and scarce commodity that you can't afford to buy it. There was recently an auction for water and the price was obscene," said Diedtrich.

Diedtrich will fallow about a quarter of his land this year. That's because the West Side Water District received a 0% allocation. He considers himself, lucky, "I have neighbors who are going lose everything they have because they are centered on the West side because they have no water. They have got almonds very similar to this and they are going to die this year," added Diedtrich.

California's Department of Food and Agriculture calls these nuts the state's second most valuable crop with sales hitting $4.35 billion in 2012. The projection for 2014 however, is bleak, "It is very plausible that farmers could see anywhere from a 25% - 50% reduction in a nut crop if you are not able to have enough water to carry those trees through," said Fresno County Farm Bureau's Ryan Jacobsen.


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