BY GEORGE MACKIE ON AUGUST 5, 2021
Farmers in California are chopping down precious almond trees due to a severe drought.
Daniel Hartwig had no choice but to remove thousands of valuable, aromatic almond trees from his California property due to a terrible drought and new water restrictions.
He sighed as he examined the formerly vivid landscape in front of him – curled, yellowed leaves covering the shrunken husks that would have been this year’s crop of almonds if the water hadn’t arrived.
Their exposed roots are already turning powdery with rot, and the near-104-degree Fahrenheit (40-degree Celsius) temperature on this June morning hastens their disintegration.
Huge machines are moving among them, turning Hartwig’s “beautiful prime almond trees” into big quantities of woodchips.
The farmer described it as a “brutal shock.”
Hartwig is in charge of water management at Woolf Farms, a 20,000-acre (8,000-hectare) estate that surrounds the small market town of Huron.
This is the first time the farm has had to uproot so many trees before their lives come to an end.
Everything has been planned to maximize the use of water, from drip irrigation systems to cutting-edge sensors deployed around the property.
Almond trees, on the other hand, are quite thirsty, and this is a dry valley.
California authorities cut off the tap to agricultural growers after several years of very little rainfall and a particularly dry winter. The farm had to confront the hard truths in April, after a series of computations.
According to Hartwig, there isn’t enough water on the market to keep the almond trees alive. “It must be excruciating to make those changes.”
And with good reason: the almond market in California is worth about $6 billion per year.
California produces 80 percent of the world’s almonds, a market that has grown in 15 years due to demand for animal-free alternatives like almond milk.
Almonds from Woolf Farms have traveled as far as India and Australia. Is that age, however, now over?
Hartwig, his hands shoved into his denim pockets, remarked, “There is a sense that farmers are here to squander water.” “It makes us appear to be the evil guys.”
Woolf Farms uses water pumped from deep underground to irrigate the crops they have managed to save.
He stated, “I’m quite proud that we can feed the world from here.”
“Where is that food going to come from if we don’t have the instruments to accomplish it?” he wondered.
Taking a drive through the estate, which reaches as far as the eye can see. (Click to Source)
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