Drought forces almond growers to get 'creative'

STOCKTON - Almond growers on the western side of Stanislaus County are facing tough choices as the state experiences serious drought conditions.

"I've been doing this for 12 years, I'm 3rd generation and by far this is the worst it's been," Stewart and Jasper Orchards owner Jason Jasper said.

Because federal officials decided not to supply water out of the Delta Mendota Canal, some growers have stopped watering in hopes their almond trees will survive the summer and produce nuts in the future. At Stewart and Jasper Orchards, they're buying water from sources that did get water this season.

"We've got to get creative and find water anywhere we can," Jasper said. "We're going out on the open market and paying up to 10 times as much for water, if not more."

Two years ago, state crop reports showed almonds ranking behind milk and grapes in terms of production.


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