Agriculture is Merced County's leading industry with a total gross value of over $1,500,000,000 according to the Merced County Agricultural Commissioner. The Merced Irrigation District provides the much needed irrigation water to Eastern Merced County's agricultural community. The District uses water from the Merced River, which flows through Yosemite National Park.

There are more than 140,000 acres of farmland located within the District's boundaries, of which approximately 70 percent are irrigated with the District water. District growers produce over 25 different crops each year, including almonds, corn, alfalfa, and cotton.

In 1919, when the District was officially formed, about 40,000 acres were irrigated. Today, that figure stands at more than 110,000 acres, using about 320,000 acre-feet of water, including sphere-of-influence sales to the Le Grand-Athlone Water District and individual growers around the perimeter of the District. The water is stored behind the New Exchequer and McSwain Dams. More than 725 miles of canals, as well as sections of several creeks and sloughs, bring the water to the District's customers.

For more information about the Merced Irrigation District, call (209) 722-5761.

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