Driving through California's Central Valley gives one a lot of time to think. But only when I was smelling something thickly agricultural did I think last week of the valley itself. It wasn't until I was on my way back home and crossing the road to Bakersfield did I really ponder all those fruits and vegetables and livestock en masse.
The thing I was thinking was a dirty bomb, and I scared the piss out of myself.
The Central Valley is one of the world's most productive agricultural regions. On less than 1 percent of the total farmland in the United States, the Central Valley produces 8 percent of the nation’s agricultural output by value: 17 billion USD in 2002. Its agricultural productivity relies on irrigation from both surface water diversions and groundwater pumping from wells. About one-sixth of the irrigated land in the U.S. is in the Central Valley.
Virtually all non-tropical crops are grown in the Central Valley, which is the primary source for a number of food products throughout the United States, including tomatoes, almonds, grapes, cotton, apricots, and asparagus.
Four of the top five counties in agricultural sales in the U.S. are in the Central Valley (2002 Data). They are Fresno County (#1 with $2.759 billion in sales), Tulare County (#2 with $2.338 billion), Kern County (#4 with $2.058), and Merced County (#5 with $2.058 billion). 2002 Data Sets
Now I could probably do some smarter thinking about it, but I just figured that the right dirty bomb in the Central Valley would just kill all the agriculture and basically Los Angeles would starve.