California farmers remain worried about drought

Despite the recent rainfall in Northern California, most California farmers say they?re in bad shape and have drought fears.
March 26, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
In Sonoma County, there's mixed news from ranchers and growers. It's natural for most of us to connect the word "drought" with water rationing, shorter showers and brown lawns, but farmers are worried about their livelihoods. When it's easier on them, it is also easier on us.

Dairy farmer Neil McIsaac pointed out some of his crop has just jumped out of the ground due to the recent rains. And he's upbeat in the rainy weather because six weeks ago, his pasture was bare ground.

"This rain that we're getting right now, it's a million dollar rain. We're all going to get pasture out of it," said McIsaac.

The downside is his pasture remains a finite commodity when consumed by herds of hungry cows. Already, this year, ranchers have brought in feed from as far away as Arizona, Texas, and Oregon and as close as Skaags Island, where this sea of green hides bad news.

"It is raining today, but it's not enough and it's too late," said feed farmer Jim Hare.

Hare grows oats on this land and says don't let the muddy topsoil fool you. His crop is much smaller and shorter than usual. As he digs open half an inch, you'll see why totally dry.

So despite the rain, don't be fooled. We're still in a drought, just not as bad a drought as we feared.