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Drought-Struck California Wants to Pay Farmers to Cut Plantings

  • A $2.9 billion pact could fallow up to 35,000 acres of rice
  • Agreement seen as a failure by some environmentalists
An abandoned pomegranate orchard during a drought in Firebaugh, California in July 2021.

An abandoned pomegranate orchard during a drought in Firebaugh, California in July 2021.

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg
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California, gripped entirely in drought, proposed a $2.9 billion plan to pay farmers to reduce some of their planting in an effort to better manage water resources.

The voluntary agreement negotiated between government officials and some of the state’s major water agencies, which was announced on Tuesday, is also aimed at protecting salmon and other wildlife and ecosystems.