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Drought may force farmers to change from traditional farming techniques

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HUMBOLDT COUNTY- With the state in the driest year on record California's crops could be threatened if more rainfall does not turn conditions around. An Arcata company's CEO and President believes farming needs to evolve and more farmers need to adopt hydroponics.

"You only have so much water," said President and CEO of American Hydroponics, Michael Christian.

Hydroponics uses water enriched with nutrients to feed the plants without any soil. Plants sit inside large containers with exposed roots that are constantly fed with a millimeter of the enriched water. Christian said his product can reduce the amount of water by 1/10th and produce a larger yield.

"It can be set up in parking lots, rooftops, on super fund sites," said Christian.

Inside greenhouses the horticulture system can grow plants in cold weather or, Christian said, in dessert conditions.

Christian said traditional farming limits farmers during years like this, where crops and soil suffer. "If you don't have another method recalculating, reusing water you're marginalized, you're not going to be able to farm," said Christian.