With a history of double-digit unemployment and poor health indicators, Imperial County was among the hardest hit in the state in the early months of COVID-19. Its farmworkers, the backbone of the county’s $4.5 billion agriculture industry, have continued their high-risk work during the pandemic.
Note: This story is embargoed for republication until Nov. 24, 2019
Efficient irrigation may produce more crops, but it doesn’t appear to preserve groundwater, according to a federal report released this week. Decades of irrigation has already depleted aquifers that many irrigated farms rely on, according to the report from the Government Accountability Office, and efficient systems appear to not help. Minus a few exceptions, GAO researchers found “there is no change in the amount of water farmers apply to a field with more efficient technology,” according to the Nov. 12 report.