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Stuart Woolf, a large almond and tomato producer, recently bulldozed 400 acres of almond orchards in central California — about 50,000 trees that under normal conditions would have produced $2.5 million of nuts every year for another decade.

It’s a fraction of the 25,000 acres his family farms, but razing the land was a necessary triage — “Like cutting off your horribly infected hand to keep the rest of the body going,” he told me.

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