SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/KCBS) — The rainy weather we’ve experienced over the last few months may bring some unexpected benefits for one regional economy.


Farmers in the Central Valley say the additional water allows them to add more so-called “thirsty” crops, and that means more work for locals.

KCBS’ Susan Leigh Taylor Reports:

Among the most water-intensive crops: cotton and tomatoes.


“They’ll probably be more careful about whether they go back and replant some of them perennial crops that have come out during the drought,” suggested Richard Howitt, a professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics at UC Davis.


He described the overall impact on the state’s economy as somewhat modest, though the additional crops would provide plenty of employment for people in the Central Valley.


“The rate of unemployment in those small, rural communities is really high,” Howitt warned. “We could have as much as 10,000 extra jobs come back.”


“We are a great place to grow these crops, even cotton, which can be grown many other places has a quality, and our tomato crop has a quality that other countries and regions really envy.”


(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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