September 29, 2022

Satellite Image Reveals ‘Agriculture Wasteland’ Across California’s Rice Capital

Rice fields are “abandoned, ” and a mini dust bowl could emerge

New satellite imagery shows a large swath associated with California’s rice fields has been left barren without harvest as fears of a ‘ mini dust bowl’ arise due to diminishing water products.  

Kurt Richter, a third-generation rice farmer in Colusa, the rice capital of California, told  San Francisco Chronicle   that will fields upon fields from the grain have already transformed into a “ wasteland. ”  

A report with the US Department of Agriculture shows about 300, 1000 out of the 550, 000 massive areas committed to rice growing within California will go without pick. This could potentially drive upward sushi prices nationwide mainly because most of the rice produced in the state is for just that.  

UC Davis agricultural economist Aaron Smith cautioned the collapse in grain production in the state may translate to an estimated $250 million loss for maqui berry farmers, about 40% of which will end up being covered by federal crop insurance.  

Satellite imagery service Sentinel Centre shows a satellite look at of the farmland in the grain capital this month compared to the same time last year — simply to reveal many fields appear fallow.  

Richter said rice fields are “ abandoned, ” and a mini dust bowl can emerge west of the Sacramento River in Colusa County. He said this summer’s scorching heat and lack of moisture are some of the substantial contributors to the area’s drinking water shortage.  

Not all is lost within the rice capital. In Butte County, green fields is visible via satellite imagery. San Francisco Chronicle noted, “ Butte County farmers planted slightly more acres of rice compared to last year. ”  

Luis Espino, a farm advisor at UC ANR’s cooperative extension in Butte, said water sourcing is critical and is why several rice farms can supply more water than other people.  

Eastside farmers rely on Lake Oroville, which was able to capture more water compared to Shasta Lake, where the present storage is less than half from the average storage for this time of the year .

The farmers in the Sacramento River watershed who rely on water from Shasta, which includes Richter’s family farm procedure, are receiving somewhere between 0 and 18% of their drinking water deliveries this year from government-run water projects. Farmers within Butte and Yuba counties received far more — about 75%. — San Francisco Share

Across the rice capital of six top-producing counties, only two will be unharmed by mega drought.  

Ahead of this year’s growing season, we pointed out  California To Cut Water To Cities And Farmland Amid Persisting Drought . Simply by summer, we noted  California’s Farmland Rapidly Turns To Dust Amid Water Crisis .  

As a reminder, the state is responsible for a tremendous amount of US food production — reducing off water to farmers, leaving tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of acres unworkable, is only going to exacerbate the food crisis.

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