Drought: Fresno State To Fallow 10 Percent Of Its Farmland

May 21, 2015

Mark Salwasser with the Fresno State farm says the school hopes to save water this year.
Credit Geoffrey Thurner / Fresno State

The historic California drought is now affecting college campuses in the region. Valley Public Radio’s Ezra David Romero reports.

Fresno State’s Jordan College of Agriculture Sciences and Technology plans to cut its water use by at least 25 percent this year on its 1,000-acre farm. 

Fresno State
Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

To reach their goal Farm Coordinator Mark Salwasser says the college plans to fallow just over 10 percent of their land.

SALWASSER:  “We’ve been utilizing surface water through the Kings River system and that of course turned up very short of water.   Out of necessity we’re fallowing about 130 acres of our field crop areas.”

The fallowing is limited to land that had been used to grow feed for livestock. Fresno State has 20 different agricultural enterprises including grape vineyards, fruit and nut orchards and herds of dairy cattle, sheep and swine.  Keeping those trees and vines alive is a priority.

SALWASSER: “We’re trying to support our permanent crops, which we have a large investment in. We tried to look at the area we could fallow and have the least amount of detriment to the farm.”

The university also plans to cut water use on the farm by 10-20 percent, depending on the crop.