NaturalNews.com March 05, 2014 by: David Gutierrez
(NaturalNews) The worst drought in at least a century threatens to reduce California’s agricultural industry to ruin, possibly creating a new Dust Bowl.
According to the White House’s top science and technology adviser, the western United States is suffering from the worst dry spell in 500 years. The drought’s effect on California in particular has national implications: California is the top farming state in the United States, producing one-third of the country’s fruits and vegetables.
California is suffering from its worst drought in at least 100 years, which Governor Jerry Brown has called an “unprecedented” emergency. Statewide, agriculture is a $44.7 billion business. In the Central Valley, California’s agricultural heartland, almost 40 percent of all jobs are agriculture-related.
“It’s really a crisis situation,” said Kenneth McDonald, city manager of Firebaugh, a Central Valley city. “And it’s going to get worse in time if this drought doesn’t alleviate.”
If the state’s agricultural industry fails, cities like Firebaugh may end up as ghost towns, McDonald warned.
“It’s going to be a slow, painful process — but it could happen,” McDonald said. “It’s not going to be one big tsunami where you’re gonna having something get wiped out in one big wave. It’s gonna be a slow, painful, agonizing death.”
A national problem
Federal agricultural officials have designated disaster areas in 11 separate states, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah, particularly noting the economic strain that the drought has placed on agricultural workers. In an attempt to mitigate this strain, President Obama has announced a $15 million assistance plan for farmers and ranchers in California and the Southwest to implement water conservation.