Hereford cattle roam the dirt-brown fields of Nathan Carver's ranch which his family has owned for five generations on the outskirts of Delano, in California's Central Valley, Feb. 3, 2014.
Now in its third straight year of unprecedented drought, California is experiencing its driest year on record, dating back 119 years.
Grasslands that support cattle have dried up, forcing ranchers to feed them expensive supplemental hay to keep them from starving or to sell at least some of their herds, and farmers are struggling with diminishing crop water and what to plant or whether to tear out permanent crops which use water year-round such, as almond trees.
About 17 rural communities could run out of drinking water within several weeks and politicians are are pushing to undo laws that protect several endangered species.
See more: California drought could push species to extinction
Historic drought takes toll on California wine industry