California Farms Added 30,000 Jobs in 2015 Despite Drought

California’s farm industry kept growing in 2015 despite a fourth year of drought, adding 30,000 jobs even as farmers idled huge swaths of land because of water shortages.

Preliminary estimates from the state Employment Development Department show farm employment increased by an average 7 percent from 2014.

One economist said the figures call into question agriculture’s claims that it hasn’t been getting its fair share of California’s water supply. Others said the growth in employment is a natural consequence of a shift to more labor-intensive permanent crops such as almonds.

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