A report from the World Wildlife Fund details how the Mid-Mississippi Delta River Region could become the “Next California” of fruit and vegetable production because of climate change. 

The report, The Next California, Phase 1: Investigating Potential in the Mid-Mississippi Delta River Region, explores the viability of shifting some fruit and vegetable production to an area of the U.S. currently dominated by row crops. 

Findings show that while California will continue to be a key agricultural state, the mid-Mississippi Delta River region is well-positioned to supplement fruit and vegetable production, contributing to a more distributed and climate-resilient food system. 

Jason Clay, senior vice president of markets at the World Wildlife Fund, says, “A hotter and drier California, with more extreme weather events, is bad news for farmers,” adding, “We need a plan to mitigate risk and take some pressure off the state and its environment.” 

The report identifies several advantages to selecting the Delta region as a pilot for more intensive fruit and vegetable production. 

These include a long history of farming, the low cost of land and labor, fertile soils, abundant rain and surface water and economic benefits.