No Rain, No Gain

And much pain, as California's drought threatens a way of life

In the 40 years he has farmed the fertile soil of California's San Joaquin Valley, Fred Starrh has known his share of hardship. But never has he had a year like this. Rainfall and snowfall 75% below normal have left the state parched, and Starrh is struggling to save his 8,000-acre spread. He has let all 40 of his permanent employees go. He won't plant cotton this spring -- it needs lots of water. His alfalfa, another thirsty crop, will come in at one- sixth of last year's harvest. He is desperately scrounging for water to sustain his almond trees. Still...

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