Topics

U.S. Department of Agriculture
California dairy farmers struggling to survive prolonged drought
California dairy farmers struggling to survive prolonged drought

Dust whips across the toasted soil where Tom Barcellos usually plants corn for his 800 dairy cows. This season, there was no water to plant the crop. The third-generation dairy farmer was forced to idle a quarter of his 1,200 acres in Tulare County, land that once also bristled with wheat and alfalfa. Now he is buying feed from out of state, paying record-high prices to contractors in Nevada, Texas and as far as Australia for alfalfa hay and corn silage. Tulare, like most of the state, is struggling through a prolonged and deepening drought. Water is in such short supply that Barcellos paid $150,000 to drill a new well to ensure that his cows have enough to drink. ------------ FOR THE...

Loading