I’m Clinton Griffiths with today’s AgDay Minute.

Nearly three-fourths of the Western U.S. is now dealing with drought and that includes some of the nation’s most important vegetable production areas.

Nearly half of the continental U.S. is in a moderate to exceptional drought.
That makes it the most significant spring drought in the country since 2013
In California, the entire state is now facing drought conditions, and water reservoirs 50 percent lower than they should be at this time of year. That means much less water for irrigation.

A new government estimate says tomato acreage continues to shrink, down nearly 4 percent, but the plants that are growing look good. Food processors were already planning to buy fewer California tomatoes this year.

Finding workers has been a challenge for many restaurants. Now McDonald’s is trying out Artificial Intelligence at 10 restaurants around Chicago. The fast-food giant says the voice recognition software should help speed up ordering, however, so far it’s only proven to be about 85 percent accurate.

California wine is teaming up with Silicon Valley. A computer is being taught how to taste wine. The idea, to help winemakers improve their products and attract new customers. The company doing it is called Tastry. The founder says artificial intelligence analyzes “tens of thousands of wines a year.”
She says she got the idea to create it when she was a chemistry student working at a winery.

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