29 Dec '11, 12pm

Can the 2012 Farm Bill protect the Ogallala Aquifer? via @grist

Can the 2012 Farm Bill protect the Ogallala Aquifer? via @grist

Kansas wheat. Photo: Brian McGuirk My father farmed in Kansas and envied those lucky farmers in the wetter states to the east of us, who could grow 200-bushel corn and other lucrative crops like soy beans and sugar beets. He had to satisfy himself with wheat, a drought-tolerant crop first brought to the States from a place in Russia much like ours. There, they called such arid places "steppes." Here, we called them "plains." To look at the pale-green buffalo grass that covered the High Plains, you would never suspect that an aquifer holding as much water as Lake Huron lay beneath. But we knew about the aquifer. Its waters seeped to the surface in some otherwise dry creek beds, feeding rare ponds where we sometimes went fishing. And my pioneer grandparents had drilled down into the aquifer and erected windmills that we relied on to pump the water we needed to exist. The tec...

Full article: http://www.grist.org/farm-bill/2011-12-29-can-the-2012-fa...

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