California’s $44.7 billion agriculture industry is hurting from the state’s driest year on record, which has prompted state water officials to tell San Joaquin Valley farmers that they will likely only receive 5 percent of the water they were expecting for next year, Reuters reports.
The drought is made worse by many farmers switching to orchard-style crops, like almonds and olives, which need water every year. Vegetables or cotton fields, by comparison, can be left fallow in dry years.
In other efforts to reduce agriculture’s water use, Nevada is encouraging the development of indoor farming, which uses hydroponics — growing crops in water — and aeroponics — suspending plants and misting them with a mineral-rich liquid solution — that cuts water loss from evaporation and seepage. And farmers in the Texas Panhandle are experimenting with planting corn without watering the ground first.
Photo Credit: almond orchard via Shutterstock