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Drought continues to affect crops, diary in California

Posted at 8:31 AM, Jul 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-06 11:31:40-04

(KERO) — More farmers' markets are back up and running as customers are ready to pick up fresh produce and dairy products. But the supply isn't there.

For state dairy farmers the cost of production just keeps getting higher. Cattle feed and fertilizer costs are on the rise while supplies are becoming harder to find. As a result, some farmers are milking fewer cows or even moving toward raising bulls for beef instead of dairy.

Central Valley farmers are raising prices to keep up with industry demand. However, San Joaquin Valley watermelon sales are up this summer. That crop's production remains steady despite drought conditions.

Meanwhile, it's not just California impacted by the drought. Most states in the southwest are experiencing record-breaking dry summers. That, paired with dangerously high temperatures, is forcing some farmers to pull crops early.

In some areas like Colorado, Texas, and California the lack of rainfall is leaving fields so dry that crops are dying before they can be harvested.

One farmer says paying for more water from the state is so expensive it costs less money to pull the crops early.

"I don't' know what to say, it's terrible and it's not just me. I've got farmer friends all over the United States and they're all in the same boat we're in," said farmer Steve Patman.

According to the latest reports from the U.S. Drought Monitor, there are eight states on the West Coast that have regions designated as exceptional drought, the most severe category for drought. Kern County regions are under "extreme" or "exceptional" drought as of June.