Saturday, December 16, 2017

USDA invests $8 million in Ogallala Aquifer initiative

Fiscal Year 2016 Ogallala Aquifier Initiative Focus Areas
Fiscal Year 2016 Ogallala Aquifier Initiative Focus Areas

Fiscal year 2016 will see the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) invest $8 million in the Ogallala Aquifer Initiative, which will conserve water in the drought-afflicted aquifer that serves eight states.

The Ogallala Aquifer covers approximately 174,000 square miles and is vital to the American agriculture industry, supplying 30 percent of the country’s irrigation water. Spread across Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming, the aquifer is used to produce one-fifth of the country’s wheat, corn, cotton and cattle output.

Unfortunately, water levels are dropping at a drastic rate due to drought conditions and declining resources. The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is already supporting seven projects to conserve water and strengthen agricultural operations, and will add another two projects for fiscal year 2016. These efforts are part of a nationwide push by the USDA to promote sustainable practices in the face of water scarcity or water quality issues.

“USDA’s Ogallala Aquifer Initiative helps landowners build resilience in their farms and ranches and better manage water use in this thirsty region,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “Since 2011, USDA has invested $74 million in helping more than 1,600 agricultural producers conserve water on 341,000 acres through this initiative.”

Organizations in this story

United States Department of Agriculture 1400 Independence Ave SW Washington, DC - 20250

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