Floods, fires, droughts show California needs bigger safety net for farmworkers, advocates say

Torrential rains and floods submerged whole towns and killed more than 20 people in parts of California in January. They also caused thousands of farmworkers to lose weeks of pay because the flooded fields and orchards were surrounded by treacherous, watery and muddy roads. 

The steep storm-related losses — along with recent revelations that some farmworkers are living in substandard conditions — are bolstering advocates’ argument that California should expand its safety net to help its agricultural workforce survive such setbacks.

Some lawmakers are listening to them.