KCBS Cover Story Series: California’s Record Drought Taking Toll On Central Valley Farmers And Businesses
SACRAMENTO (KCBS)— Cash registers in the Central Valley are seeing less activity these days because there’s less water. The state’s record drought is impacting farm towns in California’s Central Valley in a major way.
David Osegueda, one of the managers at Farmer’s Hardware in Chowchilla, where saw sharpening is only $5.95 a chain, said business had been normal, but lately, farmers haven’t been coming in as much.
“They’re struggling,” he said. Tractor supply companies have taken a big hit.
John Miller sells farm equipment in the Sacramento area. He told KOVR the drought will have a multiplier affect on the farming economy.
“I’d say our sales from last year to this year in February and March were down 50 percent. So it’s major,” he said. “Those people cant’ take their wives and families out to dinner. Can’t buy new shoes and things like that. So it really impacts the whole community.”
Of course not every business is hurting. Conquest Pest Control said their business is doing well with insects popping up everywhere because of the drought.
Fergus Morrissey with the Orange Cove Irrigation District said demand for well drillers is skyrocketing. “Everyone’s scrambling to get their wells put in deeper, try to get more wells put in, but there are not enough well drillers around to do it,” he said.
Overall the drought is expected to cost California $1.7 billion and over 14,000 jobs. As the nation’s largest economy, longtime Central Valley residents Tom Van Hoff and Tom Smith said soon enough, everyone’s going to be feeling the heat.
“This whole country, I think in a few years, is going to be in a big hurt,” Van Hoff said.
Smith agreed, “If we don’t get no rain this coming year we’re in trouble. Big trouble.”