While California remains gripped by drought, the scale of lost agricultural jobs and lowered revenue is emerging. And the numbers don't look good.
Vast tracts of farmland—mostly in the Central Valley—have been fallowed, which means idled to accumulate moisture. An estimated 564,000 acres will be idled, according to an economic update on the drought from researchers at the University of California at Davis.
Unused land, of course, triggers lower agricultural output. Based on estimates of 564,000 idled acres, farm revenue losses are forecast at $1.8 billion, and 8,550 fewer farm jobs because of the drought.
The ripple effect of lower agricultural activity is forecast to be even bigger. Idled land means fewer food processing jobs and thin ranks of truckers to haul goods. Spillover, statewide revenue losses are likely to reach $2.7 billion with 18,600 lost full-time and part-time jobs, according to the report.
"This is a very extreme drought," said Daniel A. Sumner, agricultural economist at UC Davis, and editor of the update released earlier this week. The report includes economic analysis of drought data from May and June.