Tim Johnson, president & CEO of the California Rice Commission, gives his insight into the state’s rice industry, which is the second largest producer in the U.S. behind Arkansas. For more from the commission, check out “Better Bang for Your Duck” in our April issue. Sign up for our newsletter and we’ll email you when it’s available online.
What’s the biggest change in your industry in the past year?
The epic winter weather squashed drought concerns in Northern California but brought with it significant challenges. First and foremost, damage to the Oroville Spillway and subsequent evacuations of more than 180,000 Sacramento Valley residents are profound events etched in our region’s history for many years to come.
What do you foresee as the biggest change on the horizon in the year to come?
From water deficit to surplus, careful management of the record heavy rain and snowfall will be critical in maintaining public safety, cities, farms and our environment. In addition to the continued work to return Oroville Dam to full functionality, levee repair and patrol will be part of our lives for a long time to come. Fluctuations in river levels have put great stress on our flood control systems. Improving infrastructure and more dry weather will help restore our small towns and farms. Committing to additional water storage through Sites Reservoir would be a key step, so we can better capture water during wet years to help when drought returns.
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