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Lack of Rainfall and Snow Hurts Farming in Western US



VOA Learning English
From VOA Learning English, this is the Agriculture Report.

The western United States is not getting enough rain or snowfall. The dry area includes the state of California. Many of the fruits and vegetables eaten in the US are grown there. Andy Domenigoni is a farmer in the California community of Riverside. His father, grandfather and great-grandfather all farmed in the same area.

Andy Domenigoni says farmers have good and bad years, and this is one of the bad years. He recently took a VOA reporter to a field where seeds were planted a month earlier. There were no sign of plants growing. Riverside is not the only area waiting for rain. Bill Patzert is a climatologist at NASA, the US space agency. He says drought conditions in western and southwestern states have been getting worse for the past 10 years. He says many farmers are selling their cattle and other animals because of the lack of water. He adds that Southern California is dealing with the worst drought since officials began keeping records more than 130 years ago.

Milt McGiffen is a field crop expert at the University of California. He says the drought in California will affect many people for years to come. He says food prices will be higher and less food will be produced. He says that as the population increases, the amount of water for each person is decreasing. Mr. McGiffen says that cannot continue. And he says a technology solution is urgently needed. A United Nations report says world food prices in 2013 were among the highest ever. Experts agree that there is no easy answer to the problem of making sure farmers have enough water to grow their crops