Letters to the Editor: Converting farmland to almond growing in a drought is nuts

Almonds grow on a Central Valley farm in Goshen, Calif., in 2021.
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)
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To the editor: In farmer Joe L. Del Bosque’s op-ed article about the water problems putting San Joaquin Valley agriculture at risk, nowhere does he mention the thousands of acres in the valley converted to growing almonds, one of the most water-needy crops.

If California farmers would quit growing almonds, the vast amount of which are exported, they could help all of us in this state. But over the last few years, every time I go to the valley, I notice more land converted to almond growing.

Farmers need to wake up. There are less water-thirsty crops they can grow — just maybe not crops that bring them as much money as almonds.


Susan Matthewson, Huntington Beach


To the editor: Del Bosque writes, “Scientists say we’re in the midst of the driest 22-year period in the western U.S. in at least 1,200 years.”

I was moved Del Bosque’s piece. Conserving water and having our lawns die will not solve the problem. Paying 70 cents for a peach won’t either. We need to act and stop deluding ourselves. Water is life.

We need to consult with Israel and get the water flowing. Israel once depended on the Sea of Galilee for most of its water, something that was possible at the country’s founding in 1948, when it had a population of 800,000. Now, it has plenty of water for its 9 million inhabitants.

About 80% of Israel’s water for domestic use flows from its coastal desalination plants, more of which are under construction. Let us prove Malthus wrong by producing plenty of food for increasing populations, but we need the water to do so.

Paul Milberg, Woodland Hills



To the editor: Farmers can do their part as well to conserve water. Most fruit and vegetables are vital to a healthy diet. They also take less water than other crops.

Almonds require a lot more water than many of the other crops, and they are not as nutritionally essential as melons, asparagus, sweet corn and other fruit and vegetables.

There are some geographical venues that maybe better suited for almonds and other nuts than the San Joaquin Valley.

Vicki Stern, Thousand Oaks