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California drought to cut $600 million from agriculture

Staff Writer |
About 78,800 acres of farmland in California are projected to be idled this year due to the ongoing drought.

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"This year we still have a drought but it's not nearly as bad as 2014 or 2015 for agriculture," said Jay Lund, director of the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences and one of the authors of the analysis.

"Almost all fallowed land due to drought is projected to be on the west side of the San Joaquin Basin, which relies heavily on water imports," according to the UC Davis analysis.

"No significant drought-related impacts are expected for livestock and dairies this year as this sector is more affected by market conditions than drought this year."

The study predicts water shortages in 2016 will cost the agriculture industry a total of $550 million in direct costs and 1,815 in lost jobs. That compares with an estimated $1.8 billion in direct costs and 10,100 in jobs last year.

When looking at the drought's total impact, including from businesses supporting farming and the loss of household incomes, the ag region losses this year are forecast to top $600 million and 4,700 jobs statewide.

Researchers put the total economic loss last year at roughly $2.7 billion and 21,000 jobs statewide.

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