Sunday, September 27, 2015
Almond Production Controversial and in Trouble
California’s almond orchards have been thriving over the past decade and now provide an $11 billion annual boost to the state economy. Covering 860,000 acres, they account for 80 percent of world production. But the growth coincides with another development record drought and the water needs of nut trees are posing a sharp challenge to state water security.
Farmers are planting almonds because, as permanent crops, they do not need to be replanted after every harvest. They have been steadily taking over from cotton and lettuce because they are more lucrative. “That’s the highest and best use of the land,” said Ryan Metzler, 45, who grows almonds near Fresno.
The problem is that not only do almonds and pistachios, another newly popular nut, need more water, but the farmers choosing permanent crops cannot skip cultivating them in a dry year without losing years of investment.
Now the state is putting new controls on the groundwater that has gotten many farmers through the brutal drought which still looms over the state, despite recent rains — and there is no certainty that the future of almond and pistachio orchards in areas like the western San Joaquin Valley is secure.
On the other hand it may be time to reduce almond production to help free up vast amounts of water being used to grow them. California is definitely in a position where it needs to make some cuts like this, but at what cost?
B. Bullet Answers
The global impact, national impact, and local / personal impact
Since California accounts for 80% of the worlds almond production, I think all of these areas would be affected by scarcity of the available product and price hikes across all almond products.
Forecast the range of impact over the short term (the next 2 months to 2 years), to the long term (next 20 years to 20 + decades).
If we don't solve the water issues we talked about last week, particularly in california the next t years and months could see drastic water shortages. This will immediately affect the almond crop. Twenty years from now if we are still in a drought, almonds may become expensive and luxurious.
What could you do, or could be done to create the greatest positive impact on the future
Solve the water crisis! Work to reduce the harming affects of global warming to combat further drought.
What could you do, or could be done to create the greatest negative impact on the future
pretend like there is nothing wrong! Keep growing almonds without thinking about water scarcity.
“Which region of the future” does this related closest most to or does this fit in between – or perhaps a region of the future you’d like to define for yourself.
Do you side with almond growers, or do you think its time to reduce almond growth in drought affected areas?
Would you continue to buy almonds if they become rare and the price increases substantially?