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Cost Of California Farming Grows

Rich Ibarra / Capital Public Radio

Farm workers hand-pick California asparagus during the 2013 harvest.

Rich Ibarra / Capital Public Radio

Farming in California isn't cheap.

Growers have expenses that include fuel, fertilizer, and feed, but the biggest cost is labor with one out of every four dollars spent on human workers.

In the Midwest, predominant crops like corn can be mechanically harvested.

Stockton Grower Marc Marchini says his asparagus must be picked by hand. "A lot of people are trying to get away from labor, you know, trying to go to mechanical harvesting, mechanical pruning, mechanical everything," Marchini says.

Another growing expense is water. Dave Kranz with the California Farm Bureau says the drought could play a significant role in farming costs for this year.

Kranz says fewer crops have been planted, but water costs have soared: "Water costs for the water that's available will be higher, we'll see at the end of the year whether or not that impact the drought played in overall production costs for 2014."

The average farm spent $470,000 for production in 2013.




Rich Ibarra

Contributing Central Valley/Foothills Reporter

As the Central Valley correspondent, Rich Ibarra covers San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Merced counties, along with the foothill areas including Tuolumne and Calaveras counties. He covers politics, the economy and issues affecting the region.   Read Full Bio 

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