US asks farmers: Can you plant 2 crops instead of 1? | AP News

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  perrie-halpern  •  4 weeks ago  •  19 comments

By:   Scott McFetridge (AP NEWS)

US asks farmers: Can you plant 2 crops instead of 1? | AP News
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — There is only so much farmland in the United States, so when Russia's invasion of Ukraine last spring prompted worries that people would go hungry as wheat remained stuck in blockaded ports, there was little U.S.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — There is only so much farmland in the United States, so when Russia's invasion of Ukraine last spring prompted worries that people would go hungry as wheat remained stuck in blockaded ports, there was little U.S. farmers could do to meet the new demand.

But that may be changing.

Earlier this summer, the U.S. Department of Agriculture instituted new policies to encourage American farmers to begin growing two crops on one piece of land, one after the other, a practice known as double-cropping. By changing insurance rules to lessen the risk of growing two crops, the USDA hopes to significantly increase the amount of wheat that U.S. farmers could grow every year, lessening the reliance on big wheat producers like Ukraine and Russia and eliminating bottlenecks.

The idea is an intriguing development from the Ukraine war that hasn't received widespread attention. As fall approaches, it's unclear how many farmers will actually try the new system, but some who already grow two crops say it's something farmers should consider.

"I think it's a great idea," said Illinois farmer Jeff O'Connor, who has double-cropped for years and hosted President Joe Biden at an event in May to promote efforts to increase food production. "How successful it will be, I don't know."

Even if the effort is only moderately successful, agriculture groups are hoping for new ways of meeting a growing global demand for food while generating more profit for farmers amid high fertilizer and fuel costs. As Andrew Larson with the Illinois Soybean Association put it, "It removes some of the hurdles and provides a lot more flexibility."

In 2020, the U.S. exported wheat valued at $6.3 billion. The U.S. along with Russia, Australia and Canada usually lead the world in wheat exports, with Ukraine typically ranked fifth, though its shipments will drop this year due to the war.

Double-cropping isn't new in parts of the South and southern Midwest, which have the key advantage of longer growing seasons. Those warmer temperatures let farmers squeeze in a fall planting of one crop — usually winter wheat — that is dormant over the winter and then grows and can be harvested in late spring, just as farmers plant a second crop — typically soybeans.

The problem comes when cool weather delays the spring harvest of wheat, which in turn delays the planting of soybeans. And that's where the USDA's new effort could ease the risk of a costly planting backup.

The USDA's Risk Management Agency would streamline crop insurance approvals for farmers planting a second crop in more than 1,500 counties where double-cropping seems viable. The agency also would work with crop insurers and farm groups to promote a greater availability of coverage in other counties.

In announcing its effort, the USDA said it was aiming to "stabilize food prices and feed Americans and the world amidst continuing challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain disruptions, and the invasion of Ukraine by Russia."

The USDA didn't mention climate change, but the agency and other experts have long said warming temperatures will spur farmers to rethink what they grow and how.

The new program is focused more on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which is a leading supplier of wheat to people in Africa and the Middle East. After the invasion, wheat prices nearly doubled to over $12 a bushel, though since then prices have steadily dropped as supply concerns have eased, in part because of agreements that have allowed for the export of some Ukraine wheat.

The USDA didn't respond to a request for details about how many farmers the agency hopes will begin double-cropping or how much U.S production could increase.

Farmers who double-crop often have smaller crops, but two smaller crops would still be significantly larger than an individual crop.

A study published in August by the University of Illinois and Ohio State University found that was certainly the case this year, as high wheat prices resulted in double-cropped land in southern Illinois bringing a projected $251 per acre return for wheat and soybeans, which is $81 higher than a stand-alone soybean crop. The double-crop benefit was less dramatic in other parts of the state and could be less if wheat prices drop.

Mark Lehenbauer, who raises livestock and grows row crops near Palmyra, Missouri, said he's double-cropped for years and finds it reliably profitable. Still, he cautions that there is a years-long learning curve as farmers learn how to accomplish the task of planting one crop just as they need to harvest another.

And Lehenbauer acknowledged that many farmers may simply be reluctant to take on the added risks or extra workload.

"There are a lot of extra steps in there," Lehenbauer said. "It adds some complexity."

Ultimately, the biggest factor behind whether farmers begin growing an extra crop of wheat is what price they can get for the crop, said Pat Westhoff, director of the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri. Although prices have dropped from the peaks soon after Russia's invasion of Ukraine, they remain at the still profitable level of nearly $8 a bushel.

"It really comes down to where wheat prices go in the future," he said. "Even with the drop in prices we've seen, wheat prices are pretty high so there should be a little more incentive for wheat double cropping in this next year than there has been."

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evilgenius
PhD Guide
1  evilgenius    4 weeks ago

We take farming and farmers too much for granted until it's gone.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Professor Principal
2  Nerm_L    4 weeks ago

The President has screwed the pooch and NOW the government needs farmers.  The unintended consequences of central planning never ceases to amaze.

Urban politicians have been dumping on farmers for decades.  Environmentalists have portrayed farmers as greedy exploiters destroying nature.  Democrats want to increases taxes on businesses like farms.  How long can liberals kick that dog and expect it to remain loyal?

This is driven by the President's FUBAR foreign policy and not by concerns over farming.  

 
 
 
mocowgirl
Professor Quiet
3  mocowgirl    4 weeks ago

Farmers who double-crop often have smaller crops, but two smaller crops would still be significantly larger than an individual crop.

Is anyone in the US government responsible for studying and reporting on how double cropping wheat will impact soil health?

Furthermore, is anyone in the US government studying and reporting on how climate change is going to impact the health of soil in the US or are our government's leaders so pathetically inept that they will ignore what happened when ignorant farming practices and climate collided and gave us the Oklahoma Dust Bowl not so very long ago?

The world needs topsoil to grow 95% of its food – but it's rapidly disappearing | Farming | The Guardian

The world grows 95% of its food in the uppermost layer of soil, making topsoil one of the most important components of our food system. But thanks to conventional farming practices, nearly half of the most productive soil has disappeared in the world   in the last 150 years , threatening crop yields and contributing to nutrient pollution, dead zones and erosion. In the US alone,   soil on cropland is eroding   10 times faster than it can be replenished.

If we continue to degrade the soil at the rate we are now, the world could run out of   topsoil in about 60 years, according to Maria-Helena Semedo of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization . Without topsoil, the earth’s ability to filter water, absorb carbon, and feed people plunges. Not only that, but the food we do grow   will probably be lower in vital nutrients.

The  modern combination of intensive tilling, lack of cover crops, synthetic fertilizers and pesticide use  has left farmland stripped of the nutrients, minerals and microbes that support healthy plant life.
 
 
 
GregTx
Junior Participates
4  GregTx    4 weeks ago
There is only so much farmland in the United States, 

And yet how much of that farmland is owned by foreign interests?

 
 
 
mocowgirl
Professor Quiet
4.1  mocowgirl  replied to  GregTx @4    4 weeks ago
And yet how much of that farmland is owned by foreign interests?

I just googled who owns most of the US farmland.  Interesting results, but I was not surprised.  Land has been a major investment for US millionaires for decades.  Many farmers have to lease land to farm.  I have read that US farm subsidies are often paid to landowners instead of the lessees (requires further research to verify).  If true, then double cropping insurance may be paid to landowners instead of lessees and would be a further tax giveaway to the richest men in the US, perhaps the world.

Top 10 Largest Farmland Owners In The US In 2022 - Farmland Riches

Top 10 Largest Farmland Owners In The US In 2022

By   Cari Scribner   /   June 6, 2022

Some of the links on this site are affiliate links. Farmland Riches is sponsored by   AcreTrader.

Farmland has been an asset that has held value for thousands of years. Only recently has this investment become “trendy.” Deemed as a boring investment by many, farmland has a lot of desirable traits that make it a solid option for diversifying your portfolio.

The question becomes,   who owns the most farmland in the United States of America? 

The following are the top ten farmland owners in the US:

1. Bill Gates

  • Bill Gates   owns   242,000 acres of farmland in 18 states.
  • His largest holdings are in:   Louisiana   (69,100 acres),   Arkansas   (48,000 acres),   Nebraska   20,500 acres.

2. Ted Turner

  • Ted Turner owns Ranches with cattle in Nebraska, Kansas, Montana, South Dakota, New Mexico as well as Argentina.
  • Turner, media mogul and   founder of CNN , has made a mission to promote ecological sustainability.

3. Stewart & Lynda Resnick

  • This couple owns an astounding   192,000 farmland acres   in California and Texas.
  • Primarily, on this farmland they grow mandarins and other citrus fruit, pistachios, almonds and pomegranates.
  • Stewart Resnick was always in the right place at the right time. He launched top-selling brands such as Teleflora flower delivery services and The Franklin Mint Company.
  • In the mid-1970s, Stewart took a chance and followed a hunch to   buy 2,500 acres of oranges and lemons in California   that had gone bankrupt and were being sold quickly and cheaply. After that, he found other land in fast-sell situations with owners eager to sell at rock bottom prices.
  • Fast forward to today, when the Resnick’s so-called Wonderful Company is worth $ 4.2 billion. The company produces a long list of high-quality, healthy products such as Wonderful Halos Mandarins, Wonderful Pistachios, Wonderful Almonds, Fiji water and POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice on their acreage.

4. Offutt Family

  • This family owns   190,000 farmland acres   in Fargo, North Dakota.
  • Primarily, they grow potatoes.

5. The Fanjul Family

  • This family primarily grows sugarcane on   152,000 farmland acres   in South Florida.
  • The Fanjuls launched their farming business back in the mid 1800s and produced sugarcane for over a century in their homeland of Cuba.

6. Boswell Family

  • They own   150,000 farmland acres   in the Central California Valley.
  • Primarily, tomatoes and cotton are grown.

7. Stan Kroenke

  • He owns 124,000 acres in Montana.
  • Kroenke is known as being a real estate mogul who owns more than a million acres of land across the US, including a Montana ranch spanning 124,000 acres. Kroenke is also the owner of Kroenke Sports & Entertainment

 
 
 
mocowgirl
Professor Quiet
4.1.1  mocowgirl  replied to  mocowgirl @4.1    4 weeks ago

more....

Top 10 Largest Farmland Owners In The US In 2022 - Farmland Riches

8. Gaylon Lawrence JR

  • This individual owns   115,000 acres across America.
  • On this land, he grows everything from wheat to corn to fresh vegetables.
  • Gaylon Lawrence Jr. is the CEO of The Lawrence Group, which was founded by his father. The Lawrence Group is involved with a huge list of money-makers, from commercial real estate to banking to agriculture.
  • The Lawrence Group’s agriculture department includes 15,000 acres, from California to Florida, and a variety of other locations, particularly in the southern Delta where crops flourish. They continue to buy farmland each year.

9. Simplot Family

  • This group owns   82,500 farmland acres   in western Idaho and eastern Washington.
  • Crops: hay, wheat, corn, barley and potatoes.
  • Founder Jack Simplot came from an Idaho farming family. In 1968 luck and smart thinking came together when he signed a contract with McDonald’s owner Ray Kroc to be their source for frozen French fries.
  • Before the ink was barely dry on the contract, the family farm’s output exploded as it became the #1 supplier of one of America’s go-to snacks.
  • After passing away in 2008, Jack Simplot’s family now manages a $2.5 billion agricultural company that dominates the farming world. Along with farming, the family owns ranching and cattle production, food processing, phosphate mining, fertilizer manufacturing, and other staples.

10. John Malone

  • 100,000 acres   in Colorado, Wyoming Maine and New Mexico.
  • Malone is also a media mogul. Malone, who made his fortune as a media tycoon, sold his Tele-Communications, Inc (TCI) to AT&T for a reported $50 billion.
  • John Malone owns the Silver Spur ranches, a cattle and beef company that includes the Silver Spur Ranch in Wyoming, Bell Ranch and the TO Ranch in New Mexico, and two other ranches in Walden and Kiowa, Colorado.
 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
4.1.2  JBB  replied to  mocowgirl @4.1.1    4 weeks ago

The Drummond Ranch is 433 thousand acres.

I don't think it is one of the biggest in the US...

 
 
 
mocowgirl
Professor Quiet
4.1.3  mocowgirl  replied to  mocowgirl @4.1.1    4 weeks ago

more info at another site...

2021 Land Report: Who owns the most land in the United States? (agriculture.com)

2021 LAND REPORT: WHO OWNS THE MOST LAND IN THE UNITED STATES?

WANT TO JOIN THE CLUB? YOU’LL NEED A MINIMUM OF 156,000 ACRES TO QUALIFY FOR THE LAND REPORT 100.
and the report can be found at the link below.  The top 100 landowners begins at page 112 in the magazine.  For anyone who wants to know a little more about the cost and availability of farmland and ranch land - the link has some really good info and beautiful pictures of land for sale.
 
 
 
mocowgirl
Professor Quiet
4.1.4  mocowgirl  replied to  mocowgirl @4.1.3    4 weeks ago

info from 2017...

Urban sprawl, corporate land investment and climate change is sounding the death knell for farming in the US.  

Who really owns American farmland? - The New Food Economy (thecounter.org)

While urban commercial real estate has skyrocketed in places like New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., powerful investors have also sought to turn a profit by investing in the most valuable  rural  real estate: farmland. It’s a trend that’s driving up costs up for the people who grow our food, and—slowly—it’s started to change the economics of American agriculture.

Think of it this way:  If you wanted to buy Iowa farmland in 1970, the average going price was $419 per acre, according to the   Iowa State University Farmland Value Survey.  By 2016, the price per acre was $7,183—a drop from the 2013 peak of $8,716, but still a colossal increase of  1,600 percent . For comparison, in the same period, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose less than half as fast, from $2,633 to $21,476. Farmland, the  Economist   announced  in 2014, had outperformed most asset classes for the previous 20 years, delivering average U.S. returns of 12 percent a year with low volatility.

That boom has resulted in more people and companies bidding on American farmland. And not just farmers. Financial investors, too. Institutional investors have long balanced their portfolios by putting part of their money in natural resources—goldmines and coal fields and forests. But farmland, which was largely held by small property owners and difficult for the financial industry to access, was largely off the table. That changed around 2007. In the wake of the stock market collapse, institutional investors were eager to find new places to park money that might prove more robust than the complex financial instruments that collapsed when the housing bubble burst. What they found was a market ready for change. The owners of farms were aging, and many were looking for a way to get cash out of the enterprises they’d built.

And so the real estate investment trusts, pension funds, and investment banks made their move. Today, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that at least 30 percent of American farmland is owned by non-operators who lease it out to farmers. And with a median age for the American farmer of about 55, it is anticipated that in the next five years, some 92,000,000 acres will change hands, with much of it passing to investors rather than traditional farmers.
 
 
 
mocowgirl
Professor Quiet
4.1.5  mocowgirl  replied to  mocowgirl @4.1.4    4 weeks ago

more

Who really owns American farmland? - The New Food Economy (thecounter.org)

That sounds great if you want to sell land, as many American farmers, approaching retirement age do. But from the viewpoint of sustainability, there are many disadvantages to consolidating farmland in the hands of financially oriented landlords.

Chief among them: The investment entities that own the land can control what’s grown on it and how. A quick look at farmland investment company websites makes it clear that they are very particular about assessing the fertility, the access to water and distribution, and other criteria of the land they are buying. And they favor conventional agriculture—the kind that uses the agro-chemicals, mono-cropping, and extensive tilling that continue to degrade American farmland. For financial investors, commodity crops are king, and it’s hard to imagine that they will change their minds anytime soon. As Don Buckloh of the American Farmland Trust put it, “When it comes to crop diversification it is nearly impossible to shift a commodity operation to something less monolithic. For example, the infrastructure for dealing with products other than corn or soy in Iowa, simply doesn’t exist. So farmers are stuck with having to grow the same crops ad infinitum. It’s a scary proposition because should the ethanol program be dissolved, what will corn farmers do with all that extra corn? Already the prices are so low that farm incomes are projected to be half what they were six or seven years ago.  We have no plan B for this type of eventuality.”
 
 
 
GregTx
Junior Participates
4.1.6  GregTx  replied to  mocowgirl @4.1.4    4 weeks ago
..it is anticipated that in the next five years, some 92,000,000 acres will change hands, with much of it passing to investors rather than traditional farmers.

No doubt in part, at least, because their kids want no part of the bullshit that their parents and grandparents had to endure. I'm sure that the easier dollars and instant gratification of selling the real estate is much more appealing. 

 
 
 
mocowgirl
Professor Quiet
4.1.7  mocowgirl  replied to  GregTx @4.1.6    4 weeks ago
No doubt in part, at least, because their kids want no part of the bullshit that their parents and grandparents had to endure. I'm sure that the easier dollars and instant gratification of selling the real estate is much more appealing.

GregTx,

The average age of farmers is over 55.  Most farms are fairly small and cannot support a family without one, or both, parent(s) working a job off the farm.  When the kids graduate high school, there are few affordable opportunities to go into farming if they wanted to.  If the parents manage to hang onto the farm until retirement age (or most likely death), then the "kids" are usually over 40 and have been employed off the farm for decades.

Few people want to work (or be on call) 24/7 hoping to get a check at the end of the year that will pay for the seed, the feed, the equipment, the supplies, the taxes and leave enough to pay for the phone, electricity and groceries.

In my experience, farming can have several boon years that are quickly followed by downturns that result in years of financial deprivation.  

I won't condemn anyone for not risking their mental and physical health by trying to eke out an existence being a farmer.

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Freshman Principal
4.2  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  GregTx @4    4 weeks ago

Foreigners  own nearly 37.6 million acres or 3% of all privately held farmland.

 
 
 
GregTx
Junior Participates
4.2.1  GregTx  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @4.2    4 weeks ago
Foreign ownership of U.S. agricultural land doubled from 2009 to 2019, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) records, and policymakers have become increasingly concerned about foreign control of the U.S. food supply.

 
 
 
mocowgirl
Professor Quiet
4.2.2  mocowgirl  replied to  GregTx @4.2.1    4 weeks ago

We need national laws to protect our land and water sources from misuse from both foreign and domestic landowners.

I believe it is imperative that we include scientific data on the sustainability of water and soil usage.  I am not sure that we have anyone in politics in the US that is qualified to make the decisions to ensure the best use of our natural resources to feed our population.

Who really owns American farmland? - The New Food Economy (thecounter.org)

One thing that is clear is the lack of a universal national policy governing water rights and water use. In states that are water insecure in the Southwest, there is a dizzying and arcane array of regulations that are barely equal now to the challenges of current domestic use, much less answering the needs of foreign agriculture. It seems the barest common sense that there should be some federal entity protecting citizens’ rights to water against anonymous industrial agribusiness. As yet that has not happened. And while California and the Southwest would seem the most obvious areas that will face serious water challenges in the future, we have already seen similar drought conditions playing out in other states, such as Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma. Eventually we may find that dry states must be supplied in some measure by wet states. Logic would dictate that laws regarding water use and access should be firmly in place before selling off resources to another nation.

States like Iowa have banned the sale of farmland to foreign buyers and others have laws that limit the number of acres that can legally be sold, but it can be quite tricky to tell who is doing the buying. Foreign buyers can hide their identity by creating an American corporation, or buying through a U.S. majority-owned subsidiary.

So just how much of our farmland are we willing to sell? And who decides? Most proposed deals must go through the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). Established under the Ford Administration in 1975, it has broad powers to accept or deny requests for foreign acquisitions of American companies and land. After September 11, additional criteria were included under the jurisdiction of the CFIUS, including food, water, and agriculture. The committee is made up of representatives from 16 government agencies, and chaired by the Secretary of the Treasury. It includes members from the Department of Defense, Homeland Security, the State Department, and the Departments of Commerce, Energy, and Justice, as well as the offices of the U.S. Trade Representative and Science and Technology Policy. Its reviews and deliberations are closed to the public, and decisions are handed down with virtually no transparency.
 
 
 
afrayedknot
Freshman Quiet
4.2.3  afrayedknot  replied to  mocowgirl @4.2.2    4 weeks ago

“…sustainability of water…”

 The alarm bells have been ringing for years here in the west. The visual evidence is irrefutable and the consequences are dire at best. And yet the issue has been continually tabled, just as every water table continually drops.

It is simply unsustainable and communities like Las Vegas and Phoenix and every town in between may become ghost towns in the next century…that is if we choose to continue to feed our nation. 

 
 
 
mocowgirl
Professor Quiet
4.2.4  mocowgirl  replied to  afrayedknot @4.2.3    4 weeks ago
 The alarm bells have been ringing for years here in the west. The visual evidence is irrefutable and the consequences are dire at best. And yet the issue has been continually tabled, just as every water table continually drops.

I just watched "The End is Nye" on Peacock TV.

The health of the Ogallala Aquifer is critical to US food supply.  The Ogallala Aquifer is not healthy.  Double cropping any land that requires irrigation from the Ogallala Aquifer is probably a really bad idea.

Is anyone in US government concerned about the future of our children and grandchildren?  If so, who?

I only became aware of the importance of the Ogallala Aquifer when the possibility of tar sands pollution became a contentious issue during the fight against the XL pipeline.

Ogallala Aquifer - Wikipedia

The  Ogallala Aquifer  ( oh-guh- LAH -lah ) is a shallow  water table   aquifer  surrounded by sand, silt, clay, and gravel located beneath the  Great Plains  in the United States. One of the world's largest aquifers, it underlies an area of approximately 174,000 sq mi (450,000 km 2 ) in portions of eight  states  ( South Dakota Nebraska Wyoming Colorado Kansas Oklahoma New Mexico , and  Texas ). [1]  

The regions overlying the Ogallala Aquifer are some of the most productive regions in the United States for ranching   livestock , and growing   corn ,   wheat , and   soybeans . The success of large-scale farming in areas that do not have adequate   precipitation   and do not always have perennial   surface water   for diversion has depended heavily on pumping groundwater for irrigation.

Early settlers of the semiarid High Plains were plagued by crop failures due to cycles of   drought , culminating in the disastrous   Dust Bowl   of the 1930s. Only after   World War II , when center pivot irrigation became available, was the land mass of the High Plains aquifer system transformed into one of the most agriculturally productive regions in the world.

Change in groundwater storage [ edit ]

Ground water levels decline when the rate of extraction by irrigation exceeds the rate of recharge. At places, the water table was measured to drop more than 5 ft (1.5 m) per year at the time of maximum extraction. In extreme cases, the deepening of   wells   was required to reach the steadily falling water table. In the 21st century, recognition of the significance of the aquifer has led to increased coverage from regional and international journalists. [16] [17] [18] [19]

Water conservation practices ( terracing   and   crop rotation ), more efficient irrigation methods (center pivot and   drip ), and reduced area under irrigation have helped to slow depletion of the aquifer, but levels are generally still dropping in areas including southwestern Kansas and the   Texas Panhandle . In other areas, such as parts of eastern and central Nebraska and of the region south of   Lubbock, Texas , water levels have risen since 1980.

The   center-pivot irrigator   was described as the "villain" [20]   in a 2013   New York Times   article, "Wells Dry, Fertile Plains Turn to Dust" recounting the relentless decline of parts of the Ogallala Aquifer. Sixty years of   intensive farming   using huge center-pivot irrigators has emptied parts of the High Plains Aquifer. [20]   Hundreds to thousands of years of rainfall would be needed to replace the groundwater in the depleted aquifer. In Kansas in 1950, irrigated cropland covered 250,000 acres (100,000 ha); with the use of center-pivot irrigation, nearly three million acres of land were irrigated. [20]   In some places in the Texas Panhandle, the water table has been drained (dewatered). "Vast stretches of Texas farmland lying over the aquifer no longer support irrigation. In west-central Kansas, up to a fifth of the irrigated farmland along a 100-mile swath (160 km) of the aquifer has already gone dry." [20]

The center-pivot irrigation system is considered to be a highly efficient system which helps conserve water. However, by 2013, as the   water consumption   efficiency of the center-pivot irrigator improved over the years, farmers chose to plant more intensively, irrigate more land, and grow thirstier crops rather than reduce water consumption--an example of the   Jevons Paradox   in practice. [20]   One approach to reducing the amount of groundwater used is to employ treated recycled water for irrigation; another approach is to change to crops that require less water, such as   sunflowers . [21]

Several rivers, such as the   Platte , run below the water level of the aquifer. Because of this, the rivers receive groundwater flow (baseflow), carrying it out of the region rather than recharging the aquifer.

The $46.1-million   Optima Lake   dam in western   Oklahoma   was rendered useless when the dropping level of the aquifer drastically reduced flow of the   Beaver River , the lake's intended source of water. [22]

Accelerated decline in aquifer storage [ edit ]

The depletion between 2001 and 2008, inclusive, is about 32% of the cumulative depletion during the entire 20th century. [23]   In the United States, the biggest users of water from aquifers include agricultural irrigation and oil and coal extraction. [24]   "Cumulative total   groundwater depletion   in the United States accelerated in the late 1940s and continued at an almost steady linear rate through the end of the century. In addition to widely recognized environmental consequences, groundwater depletion also adversely impacts the long-term sustainability of groundwater supplies to help meet the nation’s water needs." [23]

Since the 1940s, pumping from the Ogallala has drawn the aquifer down by more than 300 feet (90 m) in some areas. Producers have taken steps to reduce their reliance on irrigated water. Streamlined operations allow them to produce significantly greater yield using roughly the same amount of water needed four decades ago. Still, losses to the aquifer between 2001 and 2011 equated to a third of its cumulative depletion during the entire 20th century. The Ogallala is recharged primarily by rainwater, but only about one inch of precipitation actually reaches the aquifer annually. Rainfall in most of the Texas High Plains is minimal, evaporation is high, and infiltration rates are slow. [25]

During the 1990s, the aquifer held some three billion acre-feet of groundwater used for crop irrigation as well as drinking water in urban areas. The demand for the water outstrips its replenishment. The water level is particularly on the decline in Texas and New Mexico. Continued long-term use of the aquifer is "troublesome and in need of major reevaluation," according to the   historian   Paul H. Carlson ,   professor-emeritus   from   Texas Tech University   in   Lubbock . [26]   It was reported in 2020 that the aquifer would be "dry" within twenty years. [27]
 
 
 
shona1
Junior Participates
5  shona1    4 weeks ago

Morning...we are looking at our third year for a record bumper wheat crop...

Ships have been coming in here for months loading wheat and other grains etc..the US, Canada and us should be able to make up most of the short fall until Ukraine gets back on the scene again. 

It's just as well we are in the Southern Hemisphere even if we are upside down to keep the world supplied with all sorts of grains..😁

 
 
 
mocowgirl
Professor Quiet
6  mocowgirl    4 weeks ago

Forbes has a recent article on how severe drought has impacted US farmers. 

U.S. Farmers Struggle Through Drought To Bring Food To The Table But Face More Challenges Ahead (forbes.com)

Despite the drought — in some places, the driest conditions going back more than 1,000 years — American producers have managed to bring in a projected harvest that’s nowhere near as bad as it could be. Soybean production will actually increase 2% from 2021, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and wheat is up 8% over last year as global demand soared in the wake of Russia’s unprovoked war on Ukraine, a major wheat-producing country.

The concern is the corn harvest, which the USDA predicts will be down 5% from 2021, with less of the supply classified as good or excellent compared with last year. Still, the USDA forecasts record-high corn yields in California, Iowa, Washington and Wisconsin.

Darvin Bentlage, a 66-year-old, fourth-generation cattle and grain farmer located north of Joplin, Missouri, says the extreme weather that he and his neighbors face has taken them on a roller-coaster ride. Earlier this year, it rained so much that he had to delay planting. Then the drought came.

“That was a rough start,” Bentlage told   Forbes.   “In my 50 years of farming it never went from being so wet to so dry – it’s the fastest I’ve seen.” He added: “Pray for rain.”

Despite decreasing access to water and extreme weather projections on the horizon, Fulton says he’s optimistic for the future.

“Like most farmers, when we have a bad year, we say it will be better next year. We live to farm another year,” he says. “Sometimes it seems like it can’t get any worse.”
 
 

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