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Cost Of California Farming Grows

Farm workers hand-pick California asparagus during the 2013 harvest.

Credit: Rich Ibarra / Capital Public Radio

Above: Farm workers hand-pick California asparagus during the 2013 harvest.

Farming in California isn't cheap.

Growers have expenses that include fuel, fertilizer and feed, but the biggest cost is labor with $1 out of every $4 being spent on human workers.

In the Midwest, predominant crops like corn can be mechanically harvested.

Stockton grower Marc Marchini says his asparagus must be picked by hand.

"A lot of people are trying to get away from labor, you know, trying to go to mechanical harvesting, mechanical pruning, mechanical everything," Marchini says.

Another growing expense is water. Dave Kranz with the California Farm Bureau says the drought could play a significant role in farming costs for this year.

Kranz says fewer crops have been planted, but water costs have soared: "Water costs for the water that's available will be higher, we'll see at the end of the year whether or not that impact the drought played in overall production costs for 2014."

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