Opinion: Pages From a Farmer: And Then the Rain Never Came

Bombtober” some called it, when an incredible atmospheric river drenched the drought-stricken soils and mountains of California. We all danced and rejoiced, and much thought, and may still think, that we made it through the recent stretch of drought. Was it realistic to believe that a few days of heavy rain could undo the harm of months and years of drought? Only if it continued to rain, but it never did.

This winter we experienced the driest January and February in recorded history, which are typically our wettest. And we will not have a “Miracle March”.

Drought is Revealing a Human Security Crisis in Farming Communities

Sweeping cutbacks in water allocations to farms are leading to widespread underemployment in some of California’s most vulnerable communities. Lawmakers are scrambling for policy solutions.

The impact to paychecks has been raising food insecurity and malnutrition issues as food prices soar, while the reduced spending is reverberating through local businesses and economies. And the situation is exacerbating a mental health epidemic already made worse by the pandemic.

“Too often, these human impacts are overlooked,” said state Senator Melissa Hurtado of Sanger, in opening a recent hearing for the new Select Committee on Human Security. “We sometimes miss the impacts that drought has on food security, health, labor and the communities themselves.”