A California water fight pits pistachio growers against the U.S. Navy

A legal dispute over water rights in California's Mojave desert has growers for The Wonderful Co. on one side and a town reliant on a sprawling naval base on the other. As Brent Crane reports in FERN's latest story, published with Bloomberg Green, the case offers a glimpse of the coming water wars in California, as the state's all-powerful agriculture interests increasingly square off against thirsty communities over a dwindling supply of fresh water. (No paywall)

Mixed nuts picture as pistachio harvest plunges in U.S.

U.S. pistachio production is expected to fall by half in the 2015/2016 crop year, causing the global crop to contract by 86,000 tonnes to 529,000 tonnes, the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service reported. The U.S. pistachio crop is in an off-year cycle of its alternate-bearing harvest, where trees produce a greater than average crop one year, and a lower than average crop the next.

Drought be damned: CA farms continue to make record money

Even during four years of the worst drought in state history, California has seen total farm earnings increase 16 percent and farm employment rise 5 percent. “Both wages and employment in agriculture increased annually from 2012 to 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, reaching $12.7 billion and 421,213 jobs in 2015 …”

Thieves are stealing California’s nuts

Criminals impersonating shipping companies are stealing millions of dollars worth of California’s high-priced nuts, says The Christian Science Monitor.

California eyes slow shift to control of groundwater usage

Since the days of the Gold Rush, "groundwater has been considered a property right; landowners are entitled to what's beneath them," says the Los Angeles Times; California is the only state in the West that does not regulate groundwater.

Amid drought, more land goes to thirsty crops

Drought in California could idle 78 percent of the state's farm land yet, "A booming population and a sharp increase in lucrative crops like berries and nuts that require more water strain the system" says the New York Times.