FRESNO -- Federal officials have announced $20 million in aid for California farmers affected by the ongoing drought.
U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made the announcement on a conference call with reporters on Tuesday. He said the money will be earmarked for improvements in irrigation and assistance with water facilities, among other things.
California is going through its third straight dry year. Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a drought emergency, and state officials announced last week that they would not be sending water to California's agricultural customers. U.S. officials are expected in late February to announce that they will allot only a fraction of the federally controlled water that farmers want, if any.
Strains on water supplies are expected to force farmers to leave fields unplanted.