California farmers struggle during the drought

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Dawn Birch of Flora Bella Farm
Dawn Birch of Flora Bella Farm (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

“Last year our holding pond dried up for the first time,” said Dawn Birch farmer in 3 rivers California, “and we went for eight weeks without a drop of water.” She said that they had to take out a bunch of their apple trees, because they drink so much water. She now buries their drip lines, so the water goes directly to the roots. “I think the real trick being a farmer is not to let it dry you crazy,” but the Central Valley is 150 years of farming a desert and maybe it’s just reached the end of its farming life cycle.”

Shawn Coburn who farms in Fresno, Madera and Merced has had to stop growing cantaloupes, corn, wheat, alfalfa and pomegranates. “I do know some farmers who have older trees who are letting them go, because it’s not feasible for them to buy really expensive water.” His remaining water will only last him through July. “I’ve never seen so much stress and anxiety,” he said.

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