Woolf Farming and the California Water Crisis
This case highlights the tough choices, competing interests, and decision-making mechanisms involved in California's management of its severe drought, entering its fifth year in 2015. Stuart Woolf, CEO of Woolf Farming, a grower and processor of almonds, tomatoes, and other crops in California's Central Valley, must decide how to respond to the changing operating environment. Scarce water resources-and institutional constraints on the use of water-have forced many producers, including Woolf, to fallow farmland. Meanwhile, competing demands for water from municipalities and environmental interests have raised the public's scrutiny of agricultural water use. This case describes farming in California's Central Valley and reviews the state's complicated system for managing water rights and resources. It invites students to analyze the relative merits of competing perspectives on how to allocate water, the institutional mechanisms for doing so, and the potential responses of agricultural producers to the changing marketplace. Is now the time to double down on farming in the Central Valley, shift to a higher-value-added crop portfolio (e.g., organics), or retreat from this challenging business?
- 2015 HBS
- Book Quality:
- Harvard Business Publishing
- Date of Addition:
- Business and Finance, Nonfiction,
- Usage Restrictions:
- This is a copyrighted book.
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