CORCORAN, Calif. — California’s Central Valley produces a quarter of the nation’s food, but a Atmospheric River Parade There have been severe storms this winter that have destroyed thousands of acres of crops.
Storms linked to climate change have flooded 150,000 acres of wetlands in the region, according to numbers obtained by Kings County officials.
According to the US Department of Agriculture, about 99% of the nation’s pistachio supply is grown in Central California.
Pistachio farmer Nader Malacan estimated that about 1,200 acres of pistachio crops were destroyed, worth $15 million.
“It’s going to hurt,” he told CBS News. “That’s a lot of money.”
Flooding damage in Kings County this winter is estimated at $1 billion, county officials said.
Located outside of Corcoran, Tulare Lake, which was drained a century ago — and didn’t even exist a few months ago — is back with a vengeance and looks like an ocean. Up in the mountains, one of California’s largest snowpacks on record has begun to melt. According to forecasters, high temperatures in the coming weeks could prove disastrous.
“You kind of get an overwhelming sense of devastation,” says Lakeshore dairy farmer Brandon Goehardt. “How do you stop it?”
In March, floods forced thousands of people to empty The northern California farming community of Pajaro, after the levee breach of the Pajaro River.
Goedhardt and other farmers are using huge piles of dirt to reinforce and add to a nearly 15-mile-long levee designed to hold back rising tides. Although farmers say they are getting some help from FEMA agents on the ground, they are the ones footing the bill.
Goedhardt said there is nowhere safe or big enough to move his cow barn.
Kings County Supervisor Doug Verbund said crews will finish the levee before the next big melt, but there’s no guarantee it will hold.
“Mother Nature is in control,” Verbund said. “We’re just, you know, bound to keep our finger on the dyke as we go.
Goedhardt have all hands on deck this week, but their hearts are sinking.
“We are a family farm,” Goedhardt said. “You know families have been doing this for generations, and I’d hate to be one of the wheels and we lose it all.”