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Thirsty almond crop competes for limited water supply in drought-ridden California

September 24, 2021

Up to 88 percent of California is experiencing “extreme drought” conditions, resulting in the draining of reservoirs and a low supply of water for crops. The state grows most of the country’s fruit and nuts, with several of those crops requiring extensive — even year-round — watering. This creates a situation in which many thirsty crops, along with a state full of residents, compete for an increasingly limited water supply, resulting in growers choosing which crops will receive water and which will die. View the full review to learn more.

Ag News Highlights

Significant increase in use of H-2A program

H-2A is a federal program through which farmers can hire foreign workers if they have already tried and failed to hire domestic workers. New data from the Department of Labor show that workers hired through use of the H-2A program has more than tripled since 2010. The largest growth in hiring came from fruit, nuts, and vegetable farming categories.

The increased use of the H-2A program is due to a combination of rising demand for farm labor and decreased interest from domestic workers in farm work. Data for 2021 is not yet available, but it’s likely that the domestic labor supply for farms continued to wane as overall labor supply has grown only sluggishly in the face of surging labor demand. (Ag Web)

Citrus greening found in San Diego County

Citrus greening, a plant disease which can be deadly to citrus trees or reduce the quality and quantity of their produce, has been found for the first time in San Diego County. The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), San Diego County Agricultural Commissioner, and the USDA are working together to enforce a mandatory 60-squaremile quarantine around the site where the disease was found, preventing transportation of citrus fruit, trees, and planted material. (Fox 5 San Diego)

Citrus greening has already devastated the citrus industry in Florida, dramatically reducing the number of growers and lifespan of citrus trees. Although well behind Florida’s spread, the disease is spreading in California now, and quarantines are already in place in parts of Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties. (Growing Produce)

Spotted lanternfly threatens vineyards

The spotted lanternfly, an invasive insect which can destroy vineyards and fruit crops, has infested at least some parts of 10 states, prompting quarantines in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware. The quarantines are meant to restrict the transport of the bug by asking travelers to inspect vehicles to ensure that they are not transporting any spotted lanternfly eggs. (Washington Post)