CRAIG KOHLRUSS / Fresno Bee Staff Photo

Skip Sagouspe walks by bulldozed almond trees in an orchard at Sagoupse Enterprises in western Fresno County Thursday, January 16, 2014. The third generation farmer said he had to pull out 160 older almond trees, or about 10 percent of the family's crop, to try and reduce his demand for irrigation during this time of drastic water shortage.

San Joaquin Valley farmers take drastic measures to deal with drought

Published: Monday, Jan. 20, 2014 - 3:21 pm
Last Modified: Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014 - 1:43 pm

San Joaquin Valley farmers are idling thousands of acres, bulldozing hundreds of trees and shifting production of some crops out of the area as the state enters its third straight year of dry weather.

The lack of rain and snow has depleted reservoirs and reduced streams and rivers to drastically low levels. The parched conditions have forced farmers to make critical decisions about how best to use what little water they have.

The crisis spurred Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday to issue a disaster declaration, allowing state agencies to re-examine policies for how water is managed and distributed among competing interests, including the environment and agriculture. It also raises the possibility of federal relief to offset any losses.

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