2014 Was A Rough Year for California's Farmers and Ranchers

Dec 17, 2014

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Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

California's farmers and ranchers have endured a challenging 2014. Capital Public Radio's Lesley McClurg reports on how they're weathering the drought.

Paula Getzelman says recent rain brings a deep sigh of relief. She and her husband run Tre Gatti Vineyards in Monterey County. 

Getzelman: "We were extremely nervous in 2014. The harvest was a real nail biter."

Production at Tre Gatti was down twenty percent. Getzelman says she feels luckier than some of her neighbors who were down thirty percent. 

And, she's worried about next year if the rain doesn't continue. 

Getzelman: "Everyone thinks okay, we've had some rain so everything is well again. But it isn't. We have to recharge the groundwater. We have to recharge the soil."

Dave Kranz of the California Farm Bureau says reduced water supplies have rippled throughout the state. 

Kranz: "In terms of what crops were planted, what crops were not planted, what decisions farmers and ranchers made. And that will continue to affect agriculture in California for the next year at least and probably longer depending on how long this drought continues." 

Kranz says it's been tough for producers to meet the global demand for California's crops and commodities.

A UC Davis study earlier this year projected that the drought would cost the state's agriculture industry more than two billion dollars and about 17,000 jobs.