Some of the California ground planted in vines and nuts in recent years is acreage previously planted in cotton. Cotton prices reached record highs several years ago prices but have fallen since.

“If it wasn’t for the drought and less competitive prices, cotton production in California could be profitable again,” Crowder said.

He expects California cotton acreage to decline further this year.

International competition is also to blame for cotton’s challenges. Bale stockpiling by China - where almost half of the world’s cotton reserves are stored in Chinese warehouses – has provided China an economic edge against its global competitors, including the U.S.

Turning to the California processing tomato crop, Crowder expects acreage will remain steady this year despite the drought. California tomato processors need the fruit to meet manufacturer demand. California-grown tomatoes are in hot demand since imports are not priced competitively.

Normally in a drought situation, California alfalfa prices would drop but not this year. In fact, alfalfa prices are at near-record or record prices.

“The demand for California alfalfa hay for export and the dairy industry is very strong,” Crowder said. “The drought is causing some growers to reduce alfalfa acreage which could result in even higher alfalfa hay prices.”