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President Obama Visits Central Valley

President Obama toured parched farmland outside Fresno on Friday and shined a national spotlight on a local economic crisis. The president promised more than a hundred-million dollars in federal assistance to California for drought relief. And he got a first-hand look at the impact of the drought on our economy.
President Obama toured parched farmland outside Fresno on Friday and shined a national spotlight on a local economic crisis.

The president promised more than a hundred-million dollars in federal assistance to California for drought relief.

And he got a first-hand look at the impact of the drought on our economy.

The president touched down in Fresno just after two-thirty Friday afternoon. He quickly headed to the west side of the valley for a round table discussion with farmers, ranchers who supply much of the nation's food and members of local water districts.

"Because of the huge economic impact of what you do, not just on California but the nation overall, there is a national concern around the drought that is facing California," the president said.

California is facing its worst drought in 100 years.

The president said the White House has been monitoring the drought. And the purpose of his visit was to listen.

"We are going to stay on top of this because it has national implications not only for our economy but we're also going to have to make sure that we weave in this issue of water in the west with the broader issues of climate change that are having an impact all across the country," the president said.

From the round table in Firebaugh, the president headed to a farm near Los Banos where farmer Joe Del Bosque showed the president fields that will not be planted this year because there isn't enough water for his crops.

The president promised millions in federal assistance to help California get through the drought including 100-million dollars for ranchers to feed their livestock, up to 35-million dollars in water conservation assistance in areas hit by the drought, and 60-million dollars for food banks.

The president said everyone will need to help the west through the drought.

"And everybody from farmers to industry to residential areas to the north of California and the south of California and every place in between, as well as the entire western region, are going to have to rethink how we approach water for decades to come," said President Obama.

The president acknowledged that the politics of water here in the Golden State are heated. But he encouraged all sides to work together to solve the problems from the drought.
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Fresno, CA

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