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Water is crucial for Ohio farmers other states face shortages

Water is crucial for Ohio farmers other states face shortages

By Andi Anderson

Water is a valuable commodity for farmers in Ohio, while other states are not so fortunate.

The loss of farmland over the last few decades has become a critical issue.

When land is developed with concrete, asphalt, factories, or condos, it is permanently lost for future production. Farmland continues to disappear at a consistent rate each year, raising concerns among many in the agricultural community.

One significant concern is not just the quantity but also the quality of the land being lost. In regions like Ohio, the land being purchased is highly productive and does not require irrigation due to adequate annual rainfall.

This fortunate situation contrasts sharply with other parts of the U.S. where additional water is essential for crop survival, making irrigation systems necessary.

In the Great Plains region, the Ogallala Aquifer serves as a major water source for irrigation. This underground water source spans from South Dakota to Texas, supporting parts of eight states and more than 11 million acres of farmland.

However, the water level in the aquifer is decreasing due to increased usage, rendering some areas ineffective for irrigation and necessitating the deepening of wells to access water.

Environmentalists predict that once this water is depleted, it could take 6,000 years of natural rainfall to replenish it.

In California, where significant portions of the country’s fruits and vegetables are grown, more than 10 million acres of farmland rely on irrigation.

There are ongoing conflicts between suburban and agricultural interests over diminishing water supplies.

This situation raises important questions about the future of farmland concerning water availability. Should there be a higher priority on protecting land that thrives on natural water sources?

 However, retaining this land for agricultural use is challenging when developers offer exorbitant prices for it.

Water may not always be as abundant as it is now. Looking to the future, regions like Ohio and surrounding states have an advantage with sufficient rain, rivers, lakes, and streams providing an abundance of water.

This area, currently known as the Corn Belt, may in the future be referred to as the Water Belt, provided enough productive land is preserved to make full use of the available water.

Photo Credit: gettyimages-zms

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