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Farmers Worry Drought Relief Doesn’t Do Enough For Their Crops

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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A $687 million drought relief plan is heading for the governor’s desk, promising plenty of money for public projects, but leaving farmers feeling left out of the relief.

Farms are getting a good soaking with this latest storm, but the threat of the drought still lingers.

Danny Merkley with the California Farm Bureau says this drought bill may save cities’ water, but farmers still come up on the short end, because of how the drought relief is allocated.

“I don’t see this creating new water or making much more available for agriculture,” he said.

The legislation provides $475 million to water conservation and recycling projects, with $15 million going to communities running low on drinking water supplies, and $47 million will provide food and housing assistance for people in drought-stricken communities.

Many we talked to hope the recycling efforts will ultimately leave more for California farms.

“They are the lifeblood of our country, and we gotta make sure they’re taken care of,” said Ned Baressler.

Those who live in the city get most of their fruits and vegetables from local farms. Fruit stands like Ikedas in Davis are bracing for higher prices if farmers don’t get help, too.

“You definitely see the numbers out there, what people are already projecting what the market is going to be,” said Tate Sterrett. “So it’s definitely scary.”

And the less farmers produce could mean slim pickings.

The legislation may not provide relief to farms, but the agriculture industry is hopeful its concerns are being heard.

“It’s encouraging to see the state realized we are in a crisis mode now, and will be even more encouraged to take them to the next step for long-term solutions,” Merkley said.

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