Drought, Higher Food Prices

That’s the point in this article from Channel 10, but the larger question is why public leadership in our state has not added more water storage to deal with the dry years by storing more from the wet years; and in our case—Sacramento being the 1st or 2nd most susceptible to flooding in the entire country—the answer is to build Auburn Dam, which would double our flood protection in addition to the extra water.

An excerpt from the Channel 10 article.

“SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California shoppers may notice food prices rising at grocery stores across the state, reflecting national trends.

“Experts say it’s part of the continued economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, but growers in the Central Valley now face added pressure thanks to the California drought.

“That’s a major cost,” said Dan Best, coordinator for Certified Farmer’s Market in Sacramento. “And if you can’t afford [water] you don’t farm.”

“Snowpack statewide is only at 59% of its April 1 average, based on electronic measurements according to the California Department of Water Resources. Farmers in the Central Valley producing water-intensive crops such as almonds and tomatoes are already facing some difficult choices. 

“It’s really serious, particularly in the Central Valley,” said UC-Davis Agricultural Economist Daniel Sumner. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Price Outlook shows prices of staple foods such as meats, poultry, and fish as well as fruits and vegetables outpacing the 20-year historical averages. 

“According to Sumner, that can be attributed in part to rising fuel and labor costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The drought may not cause prices to rise in the near term, but shoppers could feel the impact in the coming months.

“The cost of water, the scarcity of water adds into all the costs of food throughout the system,” Sumner said. 

“Some Central Valley farms could lose money this year irrigating fruit-bearing trees in order for them to survive to another harvest next year. 

“We’re very fortunate in this area that we are surrounded by agriculture,” Best said, adding that he hopes local consumers will continue to support their local growers.

Retrieved April 19, 2021 from California drought adds pressure on Central Valley farmers | abc10.com

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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