Drought Leaves Almond Farmers With Tough Choices

FIREBAUGH, Calif. (February 23, 2014) With California's agricultural heartland in the grip of drought, almond farmers are letting orchards dry up and in some cases making the tough decision to have their trees torn out of the ground, leaving empty fields behind.

Like some others, Barry Baker of Baker Farming Company in the Central Valley community of Firebaugh hired a crew this winter that brought in large rumbling equipment to perform the grim task.

He says he believes more farmers will end up doing the same.

Last month Gov. Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency as the state deals with its driest year in recorded history.

Federal agencies have begun to pledge millions in aid.

Farmers say they're scaling back their almond orchards, or strongly considering it, despite strong market prices.


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