The California Farm Bureau Federation paints a grim future for the state’s farmers who are faced with expensive groundwater regulations coupled with other challenges that threaten the industry.
“Already grappling with drought, lower commodity prices and higher production costs, more farmers are feeling the added pinch of groundwater regulations as local agencies implement plans that include pumping limits and new fees to balance long-term groundwater resources as required by the state,” the Bureau writes in its November 16 Ag Alert.
Groundwater assessments of $130 and more per irrigated acre come at a time when commodity prices are at an all-time low, creating a grim economic challenge for farmers trying to stay in business. The assessments come with the implementation of the state’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. Other potential water costs include penalties for excessive groundwater pumping that are in the thousands of dollars. The cost of water, together with other high production costs, are contributing to farmers ending their production of wine grapes, almonds and walnuts.
Potential solutions offered by farm advisors are investments in technology, leasing ground, limiting spending or shifting crops. Personal stories and more information about the groundwater regulations are published at the California Farm Bureau site.