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Drought wreaks havoc on California farmers' livelihood

Friday, February 14, 2014 - 01:42

Feb. 14 - A crippling drought threatens the critical agriculture industry in California, the No. 1 farm state in the United States. Nathan Frandino reports.

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Sarah Woolf, owner of Clark's Bros. Farming in California, is worried. The state is in its worst drought in nearly a century, threatening to dry up Woolf's livelihood and that of many others in the No. 1 farm state. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SARAH WOOLF, OWNER OF CLARK'S BROS. FARMING, SAYING: "We are using our groundwater solely, and that's not sustainable. We've laid off many, many employees across the valley and our communities are suffering from those lack of jobs, and we're really... I can't imagine it getting much worse than this, but I hope it doesn't. I hope this is it." All over the state, reservoirs like Folsom Lake outside Sacramento are well below the normal water line. Lakebeds that should be well underwater lie exposed to the hot desert sun. Mike Wade, executive director of the California Farm Water Coalition, doesn't see relief in sight. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MIKE WADE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE CALIFORNIA FARM WATER COALITION, SAYING: "Right now, California's storage system, or system of dams and reservoirs, is at one of the lowest levels we've ever seen, and if we don't have enough precipitation to at least partially refill those for this year then next year could be even worse than what we had this year." President Barack Obama has pledged to make $100 million available in aid for California farmers. For Woolf, she appreciates the help but says there's not much the president can do. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SARAH WOOLF, OWNER OF CLARK'S BROS. FARMING, SAYING: "It's a long-term fix that we need. We need to better manage our water supply in California and have a more balanced approached to how we deliver water." Obama's federal assistance comes from a $956 billion farm bill that Congress passed last week.

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Drought wreaks havoc on California farmers' livelihood

Friday, February 14, 2014 - 01:42