Southern California farmers optimistic about precipitation

By Alexander Woodard
Flapjack Chronicle

Agricultural farmers in Southern California are dealing with a lower rain season than normal this year, and are surprisingly not nervous about possible water limitations.

According to the Fillmore Irrigation Company, the past two years in the southland have been moderately drier than the previous years. Currently, the recorded amount of rainfall in the city of Fillmore to date is a mere two and a half inches. This is about four inches less than past years.

Despite this, farmers of small and large projects in the area feel the shortage in water is still not drastic enough to result in stricter water limitations.

Daniel Hernandez, 30, of Santa Paula rents three acres in Fillmore where he grows 18 different types of flowers.

Although he uses 40,000 gallons a week to water his crops, Hernandez says, “With a smaller operation to deal with, it is a lot less stressful for me as opposed to a farmer with large trees and more land.”

The small neighboring town of Piru also has a large amount of agricultural farmers who depend on rainfall. These farmers also have the beneficial man made lake, which regularly releases water that helps the agricultural life downstream.

By using the water released from the lake, farmers do not need to pump water from the basins of the Oxnard Plain, another Ventura County city with deep ties in agricultural growing.

Land manager Dan Tello, 28, of Piru oversees twenty acres of various agricultural projects on his family’s ranch.

Among the 20 acres, Tello says, “Ten have full grown Valencia Orange trees, which consume the most water, five are rented out to a private nursery that cover their water own costs and the other five are unused.”

Having water released from the Santa Felicia Dam is a huge help during the dry seasons, said Tello. “It allows us farmers to be able to rely on local water, instead of having to tap into other cities ag water.”

The overall consensus of farmers in the area was more optimistic as they readied for the final month of the year, in need of rain. Fortunately, there are several fallbacks that southland farmers are able to rely on.

For farmers closer to lakes, it may not make a difference if they are fortunate to have a dam that regularly releases water.

If the following years continue to be as dry as this year, perhaps then farmers will turn to neighboring cities to share agricultural water. For now, most seem unconcerned.

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