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“California officials said on Tuesday that drought [not unusual] and environmental restrictions have forced them to cut planned water deliveries to irrigation districts and cities statewide to just 5 percent of their contracted allotments.

Although the state Water Resources Department typically ends up supplying more water than first projected for an upcoming year, its 5 percent initial allocation for 2010 marks the smallest on record since the agency began delivering water in 1967.

Drastic cutbacks in irrigation supplies this year alone from both state and federal water projects have idled some 23,000 farm workers and 300,000 acres of cropland in California, according to researchers at the University of California at Davis.

Water shortages also have forced California cities large and small to raise rates they charge and to ration supplies.” “California Water Allocation Hits Record-Low Level

“Financial benefits from climate change legislation for U.S. farmers will greatly outweigh any additional costs they face from measures limiting greenhouse gas emissions, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said on Wednesday. …

I think this is a real opportunity for farmers,” Vilsack told reporters on a teleconference. …

Some agriculture groups, including the American Farm Bureau Federation, have raised concerns that climate legislation will drive up the cost of farm fuel, fertilizer and pesticides. Also, they say a carbon offset market will not benefit all farmers or all parts of the country. …

“Bottom line we think this is a net benefit for farmers and ranchers,” Vilsack said. “Individually some farmers may experience some difficulties, but we think more farmers will benefit than not.” …

A preliminary study released by the department over the summer found that the House climate bill would increase farm expenses by $700 million, or 0.3 percent, from 2012-18.” “U.S. Climate Bill To Benefit Farmers: USDA

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