In the midst of one of the worst Midwestern droughts in recent memory, farmers are placing their hopes in improved irrigation systems, investing their record-breaking profits from the last several years into more efficient watering devices.
Farmers across the country are gradually adjusting to the fact that they will likely face a significantly hotter and drier climate over the next several years. Last year’s drought in Texas, the worst in that state’s history, was but the first of many strings of dry weather across the country. Significant parts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado are facing droughts, with New Mexico and Colorado currently locked in the grip of devastating wildfires.
The arid climate is not limited to the Southwest. Missouri, Kentucky, and Indiana are all facing serious droughts. In Indiana, for example, the last six months have been the hottest half-year in the state since 1894.
Many farmers see investing in irrigation systems as their only hope to adapt to the difficult new environment. According to one Hoosier farmer, “We don’t want Mother Nature to control our destiny anymore.”
While drilling new irrigation wells may save many farmers in the short term, some politicians are worried about the political ramifications. Across the West, water rights often generate contentious political and legal fights. Increased water demand could raise costs and could threaten endangered ecosystems.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer