California farmers and ranchers are constantly seeking new ways to innovate and apply smart thinking to how they use water

Innovation and foresight have allowed California farmers and ranchers to feed the state and the nation while using water efficiently and responsibly.

  • Farm production has increased 43 percent since 1967 without an overall increase in water use.
  • The “water-footprint” of a glass of milk is 65 percent smaller today than it was 70 years ago.
  • During the past 30 years, almond growers have improved water use efficiency by 33 percent.
  • California’s farmers are continuing efforts to be as water efficient as possible and have taken numerous measures to make the most of every drop of water.
  • More than $3 billion in investments to upgrade to more efficient irrigation systems have been made since 2003.
  • From 1991 through 2010, the amount of land irrigated with low-volume (drip and micro-sprinkler) irrigation has increased by approximately 150 percent, or an additional 1.86 million acres. Subsurface drip increased 380%, or about 200,000 acres.
    • In total, 41 percent of California’s 8.13 million acres of farmland are irrigated with drip, micro or subsurface irrigation. This is up from only 15.8 percent in 1991.

    Local Economic Impact

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    A commitment to both tradition and innovation makes California the most productive agricultural state in the United States and helps stimulate economic growth. And, faced with challenging drought conditions, California’s farmers are continuing efforts to be as water efficient as possible in a quest to grow more with less water.

    California’s bounty is truly on every plate.

    • From vegetables, fruits, and nuts to meat, milk, fiber and ornamentals, California’s agricultural abundance includes more than 400 commodities, many of which are not grown anywhere else in the nation.

    More than 50 percent of all U.S.-grown fruits, nuts and vegetables come from the Golden State, including nearly 100 percent of the broccoli and walnuts.

    • California is the country's No. 1 milk producer and the leading producer of butter and ice cream.
    • Today one California farmer feeds 155 people, compared to just 19 people in 1940.
    • A commitment to both heritage and innovation makes California the most productive agricultural state in the United States and vital to the health of our local, state and national economies.

    California leads the nation in agricultural production, generating more than $100 billion in economic activity each year.

    • Farming and ranching provides more than 450,000 seasonal and year-round jobs; across the entire agricultural value chain, this total grows to more than 2.5 million California jobs in both rural and urban communities.
    • California’s agricultural community is made up of multigenerational farming families – 93 percent of California’s 76,400 farms, ranches and dairies are family owned. Ninety-nine percent of California dairy farms are family owned.