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Greg Martin 05/16/05 Drastic drought action
by Greg Martin, click here for bio

Program: Fruit Grower Report
Date: May 16, 2005

There are many agricultural areas of the Pacific Northwest where some tough choices are being made this year, and will continue to be made, as the region becomes drier and the looming drought becomes more prominent. Among the areas expected to be hardest hit are portions of the Yakima Valley of Washington State. And it is there that growers, especially in the tree fruit industry, are already taking drastic steps, whether it is to get a profitable crop or prepare for a better year next year. Washington State Agriculture Director Valora Loveland discovered the extent of the measures taken during a recent tour of the Yakima Valley, including the cutting of trees in half in order to save orchards for next year.

LOVELAND: Theyd already pushed out a number of trees because there wasnt going to be enough water to keep the trees and other crops that he had on his farm alive. So theyve made a lot of very dramatic decisions and theyve made them all on their own. They understand the best techniques there are to protect as much as they can, and they are doing what they have to do in order to try to save their crops.

Loveland and a group of state and federal officials on the tour will use the information and public comment gathered to develop strategies involving drought planning and relief for all growers affected. Loveland says in lieu of the droughts impact on growers, state and federal agencies need to be extremely sensitive to provide help to minimize those impacts.

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