Farm Damage in State From Storms Exceeds $500 Million

From Reuters

Crop and livestock losses from storms and floods that hit California this month now exceed half a billion dollars, the California Department of Food and Agriculture said Friday.

The department, which earlier this week estimated statewide agricultural losses at just under $400 million, revised its estimate up to $507.6 million Friday.

A department spokeswoman said a few California counties had not yet reported losses and the total could rise further.

Hardest-hit crops included almonds, with $126.3 million of damage, strawberries with $63.1 million, lettuce with $40.2 million, apricots with $19.4 million, wine grapes with $18.1 million and broccoli with $15.5 million, the department said.

The department said the half a billion dollars of losses, while significant, represented just 2.5% of

California's annual farm output of $20 billion.

A series of fierce storms pounded California earlier this month, flooding hundreds of homes and businesses as well as thousands of acres of rich farmland.

President Clinton declared much of the state a major disaster area.

The March losses are in addition to $97 million of crop damage caused by an earlier round of floods in January.

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