Thoughts on this Historic Drought: Continuing the conversation

Yesterday the Los Angeles Times reported a strong story sharing the perspective of almond growers.

Here is an excerpt from the story that I wanted to share:

Almonds, the demons of drought? Frustrated growers tell another story               

Farmers are by necessity a stoic lot. But the assault on almonds, said Greg Wegis, 39, farming in Wasco, has been “very stressful.”

“I grew up listening to my father and grandfather talk around the dinner table, proud of doing something noble for California, and for America,” he said. “Now, we’re feeling like a scapegoat for over 30 years of water mismanagement in this state.”

He’s particularly bothered by the one gallon/one almond statistic. “They’re taking the total volume of water used and dividing it by the total pounds of nuts produced, but that does not tell the whole story.”

The nut, as it happens, is only a part of the almond. The rest — the shell and the hull — are put to efficient agricultural use. Shells, a hard wood, have all sorts of uses — fireplace logs, animal bedding. Hulls are used as feed for dairy cattle. So almonds help make milk.

Tons of dead almond trees are ground up and used as biomass fuel for cogeneration plants. So almonds help make electricity. Trees absorb carbon dioxide. So almonds help clean the Central Valley’s notoriously noxious air.