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Why almond growers aren't the water enemy
Why almond growers aren't the water enemy

A quarter-century ago, when I first started farming the fertile ground of western Fresno County, my crop was cotton. I wasn't alone. Back then, the San Joaquin Valley had more than 1 million acres of white gold. Federal water cost me — hard to believe today — only $25 an acre-foot. And there was plenty of it. My neighbors and I irrigated inefficiently by sprinkler and furrow. But I knew then that cotton wasn't a sustainable crop for California. It could grow almost anywhere, and there was a surplus of it. Plus, cotton growers got a rather considerable payment from the federal government. Those double subsidies — cheap water and price supports — gave...

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