“When farmers are short on water, they’re going to say, ‘Well, I’d like to have more water, but with the water I have, I’m going to make the most profit from it that I can,'” says Jay Lund.
That’s how Lund, a professor for civil engineering at the University of California in Davis, explains the crop choices in the state’s Central Valley. Lucrative specialty crops reign when water supply tightens.
Here are the Central Valley’s top crops, by acreage and value, according to the latest numbers compiled for Marketplace by Bill Matthews, UC Agricultural Issues Center, using data from the USDA’s National Agriculture Statistics Service:
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