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Farmers preparing for the worst drought on record

By Tyler May, tmay@krcrtv.com
Published On: Dec 26 2013 09:01:46 PM CST
OROVILLE, Calif. -

There's has been a lack of rain in the Northstate, and it's causing some concern for some local farmers in Butte County.

The First Alert Weather team has been saying we are substantially below the average amount of rain.  

"We've been farming for about 12 years and this will be the first year that we have turn the sprinkler systems on twice in December," said John Morse, owner of Morse Farms in Oroville.
     
On average, 33 inches of rain is recorded by the end of the year, but as 2013 comes to a close less than 13 inches of rain has fallen; a 20 inch deficit.

"We have had the 'Miracle March's' and the late rains in February and that's what we are hoping for at this point," said Morse.

Morse explains that rain is very important to mandarins.  It moisturizes the trees so the fruit can fully grow for next season.
     
"So the trees are very vibrant and growing well to get ready for the hot summer," said Morse
     
Morse has 600 trees on his mandarin farm, and uses more than 34,000 gallons of water a week to maintain his crop.
     
"We are waiting from the water district and from the state to see what actually going to happen this year yet, so we don't know," said Morse.
     
Morse said he produced 12 tons of mandarins this past season, and that his farm depends on the runoff from the snow that fills up the reservoirs.