Water Grows the Texas Economy

Across the Panhandle and South Plains of Texas, the vast Ogallala Aquifer underlies 36,000 square miles of Texas. The water used for agricultural production brings billions of dollars into the economy every year, creating jobs and income for people in Lubbock, Amarillo and throughout the region.

It is vital that we find ways to conserve this valuable resource without damaging the economy. It can be done. We can conserve water for the future without sacrificing jobs and economic growth today. Watch this video to learn how

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Ogallala Aquifer Initiative Widely Used by Farmers to Improve Water Application

By Quenna Terry

No one has a greater stake in conserving water than those who depend on it for their livelihood, and Texas farmers and ranchers on the Panhandle and South Plains regions are no exception.

Four years ago, in response to declining water levels of the Ogallala Aquifer, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Texas launched the Ogallala Aquifer Initiative (OAI) program in an effort to assist producers in addressing water quantity and quality concerns. The initiative has helped landowners improve irrigation systems and enhance the economic viability of cropland located above the aquifer. It also can offer opportunities to convert to non-irrigated production.

“The Ogallala Aquifer Initiative provides farmers and ranchers with technical assistance and financial assistance to support water and energy savings through proven conservation programs,” said Mark Hall, NRCS Farm Bill program specialist in Lubbock. “More producers in Texas are applying advanced irrigation water management technologies to monitor crop demand and prevent overwatering.”

Currently, over 151,000 acres are enrolled in the initiative for more than $23 million. Read more

Study finds High Plains crop production supports 103,000 jobs

An economic analysis conducted by Texas Tech University and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension found crop production supported more than 103,000 jobs and generated more than $12.2 billion in economic activity in 2010 in the Texas High Plains region.

Those findings come from a new, first of its kind economic model that can now be used to measure the economic effects of different policy options such as changes in water regulations, energy costs, and federal farm programs according to one of the leaders of the research, Darren Hudson, Ph.D, the Larry Combest Endowed Chair for Agricultural Competitiveness at Texas Tech.

“We’ve always known crop production was a huge part of the economy of this region, but now we have a comprehensive model that can measure in dollars and jobs the total amount of economic activity generated by growing, selling and processing crops in the Texas High Plains,” Hudson said.

The measures in the study reflect the impact of a wide variety of economic activity including production costs, such as buying seed, fertilizer, fuel, labor and equipment, as well as post-production processing of crops in the area, including livestock and dairy usage, cotton gins, grain elevators and other relevant processing. Read more

What are ag producers doing?

Texas agricultural producers are making a number of strides to conserve our natural resources such as conservation tillage, irrigation conservation tools, and more.

In 2011, we followed a Panhandle corn producer's corn field on drip irrigation, learn more about his success with this conservation method here.

Ogallala Aquifer Initiative Widely Used by Farmers to Improve Water Application

What is Drip Irrigation?

Drought conditions continue in areas of Texas following last year’s worst drought on record across the state. Efficient water is paramount in the agricultural industry, as Texas farmers work to grow the crops consumers and livestock rely on. With water being a finite resource, this topic is not one that will be dropping by the wayside any time soon. That is why Texas Corn Producers has teamed with the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service in Texas to provide an informational resource for producers on drip irrigation, which it released on the Water Grows Jobs YouTube Channel this month. Learn more about these videos here