Bad news for ranchers, farmers and consumers.
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As California enters summer with a below-normal mountain snowpack to feed its streams and reservoirs, the portion of the parched state experiencing exceptionally severe drought conditions is growing, experts said.
The most populous U.S. state is in the third year of a crippling drought that has forced ranchers to sell cattle for lack of grazing land, and farmers to let an estimated 400,000 acres normally devoted to crops go fallow.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Thursday that while all of the state remains in a severe drought, the portion of the state in what is considered an “exceptional drought” increased in the past week from about 25 percent to about 33 percent.