More Water for Farmers Does not Mean Lower Produce Prices
The news that farmers received from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation recently about the allotment of water from the Central Valley Project changing to 100 percent does not mean that consumers will being paying less for produce. Daniel Sumner, a professor of agricultural economics at UC Davis states:
The crops that [farmers] make sure to keep the water on for are carrots, strawberries and things like that, that are high-revenue per drop of water… It may well be over a year or two, if we keep having plenty of water, that I could show the sports bar you eat is a nickel cheaper out of the $2.50 price due to this water allocation.
The reason that the price of produce is unlikely to change much is that there was never a dramatic change in supply because farmers kept up with the demand of popular crops. So even when the drought was at its worst, farmers still continued to grow the high-value crops that people purchase at stores. However, what may drop in price slightly are lower-value crops that are used for feed because more Central Valley farmers may begin growing more of these types of crops. Even though consumers will not notice much of a difference at the register, at least the farmers are pleased that the drought has ended.
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