February 10, 2014 / 4:45 PM / 5 years ago

Obama to discuss California drought in Fresno stop this week

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Friday will discuss federal efforts to help California cope with a severe drought when he makes a stop in the Fresno area.

A visitor walks near the receding waters at Folsom Lake, which is 17 percent of its capacity, in Folsom, California January 22, 2014. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

Obama leaves on Friday for talks in Rancho Mirage, California, with Jordan’s King Abdullah.

On his way there, Obama will stop in the Fresno area, where a White House official said on Monday he will “discuss ongoing efforts to respond to the severe drought.”

Coming off its driest year on record, California is gripped in a drought that threatens to inflict the worst water crisis in state history, prompting Governor Jerry Brown last month to declare a state of emergency.

Large-scale crop losses in California, which is the No. 1 U.S. farm state, producing half the nation’s fruits and vegetables, would undoubtedly lead to higher consumer prices.

Last week the Agriculture Department announced $20 million in assistance directed to the most heavily stricken areas to help farmers and ranchers better utilize scare water resources.

Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Leslie Adler

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