Water is the key ingredient for life on Earth. Water for irrigation is also the key to agricultural prosperity on the Great Plains. We are blessed with abundant surface water and groundwater in South-Central Nebraska, but a variety of factors are combining to limit the amount of water available for agriculture.
Development of additional irrigated land in the Platte Basin is restricted to protect streamflows for endangered species like Whooping Cranes. The Republican River Compact limits how much water Nebraskans can use in that river basin. Periodic droughts also highlight the limitations of our water supply.
Farmers have responded to water use limits by improving irrigation efficiency. Over the past few years they have converted hundreds of thousands of acres of cropland from furrow irrigation to more efficient center pivot and sub-surface drip irrigation. Many farmers have also adopted no-till farming techniques that not only improve soil health, they also reduce evaporation.
Because water is so critical to Nebraska agriculture, farmers and landowners need to stay informed about rapidly-changing irrigation technology and evolving water policy. The Holdrege Water Conference, scheduled for Tuesday, February 3rd at the Phelps County Ag Center, is a great opportunity to get the latest information about water issues and best management practices for irrigation. The conference starts at 10:30 AM. There is no charge to attend and a free lunch will be served. Please plan to attend the Holdrege Water Conference on Tuesday, February 3rd at the Phelps County Ag Center.