California drought could drain $8B, spike prices

A dog hangs around an abandoned farmhouse on February 6, 2014 near Bakersfield, California. Now in its third straight year of unprecedented drought, California is experiencing its driest year on record, dating back 119 years and possible the worst in the past 500 years.
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California—hammered by a severe drought—may see nearly a million acres of land go idle this year, a report said on Friday.

According to the Western Farm Press agriculture news site, the California Farm Water Coalition has sharply increased its projection of idle acres this year to 800,000, up from 500,000. The report cited the group's estimates showing that lost farm production could deprive the Golden State's economy of nearly $8 billion.

The coalition's executive director, Mike Wade, told the Western Farm Press that the impact of idle farmland will have a trickle-down effect on consumers. Some analysts say shoppers could see sticker shock on the order of 10 to 15 percent during the spring and summer.