By Bruce Kennedy, MoneyWatch
The ongoing severe drought in California is much more than a statewide emergency or a local news story. It will likely have ripple effects nationwide, affecting grocery store receipts in all 50 states, and putting a dent in the nation’s economy.
California is a major player in the country’s economic engine. If California were its own country, it would be the world’s eighth-largest economy – surpassing the GDP of Italy and Russia.
A big part of the Golden State’s wealth comes from its agricultural base. The state’s 80,500 farms reportedly generated a record $44.7 billion for their production output in 2012 – making California the top U.S. state in cash farm reciepts, accounting for more than 11 percent of the overall national total.