In the summer of 2022, MyHighPlains.com collaborated with The Hill on the state of the Ogallala Aquifer, water, and agriculture on the High Plains after publishing an initial overview of water in the region.
The Hill collaboration was split into a number of digital exclusive stories written by Caden Keenan and David Gay, as well as a number of stories produced by Roushell Hamilton, Jr. that were published on the website as well as broadcast on KAMR Local 4 News.
These stories were published and/or aired in the latter half of August 2022.
Digital exclusive stories:
The Ogallala Aquifer: When will the wells run dry? What then?
An overview of the severe drought conditions in the High Plains as of the summer of 2022 and a look at the projected death of the Ogallala Aquifer, as well as its possible impacts on daily life in the region.
The Ogallala Aquifer: The past, the present, and the future of agriculture
A more detailed look at the history of the Ogallala Aquifer and its position as a cornerstone of agricultural development on the High Plains, as well as different types of strategies that communities and producers may employ to conserve water and continue agriculture in the region as the aquifer depletes.
Water and Drought on the High Plains: Lawmakers discuss importance of Farm Bill legislation
Continuing the discussion surrounding how ongoing drought conditions and the depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer will impact agricultural producers and communities, this article presents a detailed look at the origins of the federal Farm Bill and how lawmakers on the High Plains have planned to approach it in 2023.
Drought conditions putting added strain on Ogallala Aquifer
A deeper look at the impact of drought conditions on the Ogallala Aquifer, as well as its rates of decline compared to recharge and the low likelihood that the High Plains will see a true recovery of the aquifer’s water supply within this lifetime.
Area ranchers sell cattle early due to area drought conditions
A review of the impact of the 2022 drought conditions on the cost of care for livestock, which prompted a number of ranchers to cull herds or push cattle to market earlier than expected. According to one local rancher, the costs of hay, cubes, pellets, and protein sources used to support livestock “more than doubled” in 2022.
Extreme heat, drought & crop loss: area farmers facing low yields
Alongside the impact of the 2022 drought conditions on area ranchers, farmers across the High Plains also experienced increased production costs and significantly decreased yields through the growing season. As noted by an agronomist for the Texas A&M Agrilife Research and Extension Center, wheat crops were some of the lowest in the last 20 years.
Cattle, droughts & high prices at the grocery store
Following deeper dives into the impact of 2022 drought conditions on agricultural production, this article presents a look at how difficulties in the supply chain and production spheres rippled into raising prices for day-to-day consumers at grocery stores.
The Water and Drought on the High Plains category on MyHighPlains.com contains further ongoing coverage on the state of water issues, drought conditions, legislation, and community impact in the region.