Organizations teaming up to help small California farmers impacted by drought

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- For over three decades, Donald Sherman has been a local farmer growing vegetable crops.

It's no secret California has been dealing with the impact of the drought for several years, and Sherman says he saw this coming about 20 years ago.

"I mean, the water table was maybe 30 feet down and everything was fine but back then, you used to hear about the water maybe becoming an issue," he said. "Well, we are here now."

He says that as small farmers, they don't always have the resources to keep up when wells begin running dry, and they have to be mindful of how they use every drop of water.

"You have to water to whatever it is that is available to you," he said.

Farmers and local advocates are continuing to raise their voices in hopes of a solution.

Recently, "pray.com", a global mental and spiritual health company, partnered with the California Family Farmers Association to stand by small family farmers and raise funds.

"When I see a call for help and when I see signs that say 'pray for rain,' it's hard to look the other way and when I see that, I know that we have to get involved," says CEO Steve Gatena.
Gatena says they released a 7-minute documentary shedding light on the hurdles faced by farmers.

"Small farms run on very small margins and especially with COVID, a lot of small farms rely on direct sales, farmers market and channels like that," Rasheed Hislop with CAFF.

CAFF launched the emergency fund to help support those hit the hardest.

Sherman says the resources and voices looking to help are giving him hope that local and state leaders will jump in find a solution.

"We need somebody out there fighting for us like that to be able to bring awareness to that," he said.

Pray.com will match donations dollar for dollar up to $25,000 for all donations made by October 31st.

For more information on CAFF, click here.

For more information on pray.com, click here.
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