As California enters its fourth year of drought, farmers are in a fight to keep growing much of the nation’s food. California agriculture is a $46 billion industry, and the Central Valley alone produces nearly half of the United States’ vegetables, fruits and nuts and is the nation’s largest dairy producer — meaning that the drought is far from just a local issue.
Among other efforts to “keep California farmers farming,” last year Cannon Michael, a sixth-generation farmer, and peers implemented conservation measures and fallowed land early in the season to make 13,500 acre-feet (one acre-foot equals roughly 326,000 gallons) of water available to neighboring farmers at an affordable price. While other sales at the time priced water between $1,000 and $2,000 per acre-foot, the transfer Michael was a part of priced water at $250 an acre-foot.
California’s current drought is shining an international light on the state’s complicated water system and poor accounting of water usage. To read more about the issues plaguing the state and about Michael’s efforts to find ways to overcome the drought, read “How one California farmer is battling the worst drought in 1,200 years,” by Sena Christian.
Sonya Doctorian is a photographer and video journalist. Her challenge and passion is to show people’s lives as they unfold through real-time observation. To see more of her work, visit sonya-doctorian.format.com.