Researchers at UC Merced, led by water resources management professor Dr. Josue Medellin-Azuara, have estimated direct agricultural losses due to drought total $3 billion over the last two years — $1.7 billion this year and $1.3 billion in 2021. As many as 752,000 acres of farmland could be fallowed this year because of water shortages, which could amount to a total of 2.6 million acre-feet.
Dr. Medellin presented his initial findings this week to the California State Board of Food and Agriculture, while noting that a final report will be delivered soon.
The research project–funded by CDFA–reports that California is in the midst of one of the hottest, driest three-year periods on record, and it also shows extensive losses in the food processing sector, with estimates reaching nearly $6 billion in 2021 and 2022, and more than 12,000 lost jobs.
Learn more about the UC Merced research here.