DISASTERS

California drought takes bite out of rice harvest, reducing wildlife habitat and sushi grains

  • In this photo taken Friday, Oct. 10. 2014, a rice harvester works a field belonging to rice farmer Mike DeWitt near Davis, Calif. DeWitt is among the Sacramento Valley farmers who planted 25 percent less rice than normal because of water cutbacks, which is impacting migratory birds, and other wildlife that depend on flooded rice fields for habitat. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

    In this photo taken Friday, Oct. 10. 2014, a rice harvester works a field belonging to rice farmer Mike DeWitt near Davis, Calif. DeWitt is among the Sacramento Valley farmers who planted 25 percent less rice than normal because of water cutbacks, which is impacting migratory birds, and other wildlife that depend on flooded rice fields for habitat. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this photo taken Friday, Oct. 10, 2014, rice harvested by Mike DeWitt is loaded into trucks near Davis, Calif. DeWitt is among the Sacramento Valley farmers who planted 25 percent less rice than normal because of water cutbacks, which is impacting migratory birds, and other wildlife that depend on flooded rice fields for habitat. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

    In this photo taken Friday, Oct. 10, 2014, rice harvested by Mike DeWitt is loaded into trucks near Davis, Calif. DeWitt is among the Sacramento Valley farmers who planted 25 percent less rice than normal because of water cutbacks, which is impacting migratory birds, and other wildlife that depend on flooded rice fields for habitat. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this photo taken Friday, Oct. 10. 2014, rice farmer Mike DeWitt looks over some of his harvested rice fields near Davis, Calif. DeWitt is among the Sacramento Valley farmers who planted 25 percent less rice than normal because of water cutbacks, which is impacting migratory birds, and other wildlife that depend on flooded rice fields for habitat. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

    In this photo taken Friday, Oct. 10. 2014, rice farmer Mike DeWitt looks over some of his harvested rice fields near Davis, Calif. DeWitt is among the Sacramento Valley farmers who planted 25 percent less rice than normal because of water cutbacks, which is impacting migratory birds, and other wildlife that depend on flooded rice fields for habitat. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)  (The Associated Press)

California's deepening drought is shrinking its rice crop, and that's bad news for farmers, migratory birds and sushi lovers.

The state's $5 billion rice industry exports to more than 100 countries and specializes in premium grains used in risotto, paella and sushi. But this year rice farmers only planted 420,000 acres — 25 percent less than last year — because of water restrictions.

The smaller crop could affect Japanese restaurants because nearly all U.S. sushi chefs use medium-grain rice grown in the Sacramento Valley.

The reduced plantings also impact millions of migratory birds and other wildlife that depend on flooded rice fields as habitat, especially in the winter.

Across California, farmers are leaving fields unplanted and tearing out orchards as the historic drought enters its fourth year.