The effects of drought on communities that depend on agriculture will be devastating this year. Companies that support producers will provide fewer services, handle fewer crops and employ fewer people as farmers idle their fields.
“We applaud the inclusion of the California Small Business Agriculture Drought Relief Grant Program in the Governor’s May Budget Review as an important first step in ensuring the resilience of our food supply and recognizing the value of the habitat provided on our farms,” said the President and CEO of the California Rice Commission. , Tim Johnson.
“Our suppliers and support businesses, from the plant and dryer to the agricultural pilots, are essential to our farms. Without them, we cannot survive. We need to do everything we can to ensure that when it rains again and agriculture returns to normal, our trading partners and our communities will still be there,” Johnson said.
The drought will affect the entire Central Valley, but will be particularly felt along the Sacramento River, due to historically low rainfall in the Shasta Lake watershed. The Northern California Water Association estimates the impacts in the Sacramento Valley at nearly $1 billion. For rice, more than $251 million in impacts will be felt by mills, dryers and industry service providers, along with a loss of around 1,500 jobs.
At a time when every drop of water could be the key to survival, rice paddies are also an essential lifeline for nearly 230 wildlife species, providing vital surrogate wetlands as drought conditions reduce habitat natural available.