California Drought Takes Toll on World’s Top Almond Producer

Almond orchards are thirsty permanent crops that need water year-round, clashing with a worsening drought and intensifying heat waves tied to climate change.

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Employees inspect almonds in the processing facility at Steward & Jasper Orchards in Newman, Calif. on July 20, 2021. California's deepening drought threatens its $6 billion almond industry, which produces about 80 percent of the world's almonds. As water becomes scarce and expensive, some growers have stopped irrigating their orchards and plan to tear them out years earlier than planned. (AP Photo/Terry Chea)
Image via AP Photo/Terry Chea

This article was republished here with permission from The Associated Press, however it is no longer available to read on

FIREBAUGH, Calif. (AP) — As temperatures recently reached triple digits, farmer Joe Del Bosque inspected the almonds in his parched orchard in California’s agriculture-rich San Joaquin Valley, where a deepening drought threatens one of the state’s most profitable crops. Del Bosque doesn’t have enough water to properly irrigate his almond orchards, so he’s practicing “deficit irrigation” — providing less water than the trees need. He left a third of his farmland unplanted to save water…

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