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Abstract

The study uses conjoint-analysis and a contingent valuation method to estimate Central California farmers’ willingness-to-pay (WTP) for various attributes of drought assistance programs. It focuses on farmers’ valuations about each attribute and the combinations of attributes in a hypothetical environment, and analyzes their rankings of choices when groundwater availability is declining; the current situation for agricultural irrigation in the valley. The online survey with farmers in spring 2019 shows that WTP estimation for drought assistance changes with the type of crop grown: 1) tree-nut growers have the highest, positive WTP; 2) fruit growers have a negative WTP; and 3) other food producers have the lowest, negative WTP. Thus, differentiating between crop growers and planning for assistance accordingly may increase awareness and improve participation of state and federal funded drought assistance programs in Central California.

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