SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Out of California’s 58 counties, 85% are now under a severe drought forecast, according to the National Drought Mitigation Center.
For extreme drought counties like Sacramento and Solano, farmer Lindsey Liebig said the effects are already being seen.
“When the drought affected us was during our winter crops, so things like hay, irrigated pastures, those types of areas,” Liebig said. “So we’re really seeing the most hard-hit areas right now in our animal industry. We’ll actually, probably, be moving some cattle either out of the state or to different areas in the state.”
“We’re not alarmed, but we’re being careful,” said Solano County farmer Alexis Koefoed.
On her 55-acre Soul Food Farm, Koefoed was doing what she could to prepare her olive trees and flower beds ahead of a dry fire season, and she is bracing for a worst-case scenario with the Pacific Gas and Electric company.
“There are times now that farmers also have to realize that there’s no power, so you’re pumps won’t work and you can’t water things if it’s a particularly hot day over 100 degrees,” she told FOX40.
That’s why Koefoed and other farmers have been using a method called dry farming or regenerative agriculture.
“In drought conditions, if you were taking care of the soil and managing the soil to have a more water holding capacity and keeping the soil covered so it wasn’t getting cracked and dried and evaporating moisture, that was even a much higher level of managing the farm and dealing with droughts,” Koefoed explained.
It not only saves water within the county, but according to Koefoed, it produces a better tasting product.
There is also good news for the fruit and vegetable crop outlook for Sacramento County farmers.
“We are well-conditioned to dealing with reduced water resources and really being more effective irrigators,” Liebig said. “So all of our technology is in place. All of those things we’ve done year to year to really manage the water efficiently, those things are already in place.”
“Things are changing, and so farming has to move along and change with it and some of the old methods just don’t make sense anymore if we’re going to conserve our resources,” Koefoed said.
One thing Koefoed wanted to be sure to mention to consumers is to have patience with farmers this season as many crops will probably be in short or zero supply during the drought.