Agriculture and Land-use Changes in the Texas High Plains.
Vivien Allen1, Philip Brown2, and Eduardo Segarra2. (1) Texas Tech Univ., 15th Street, 101 Food Technology, Lubbock, TX 79409-2122, (2) Texas Tech Univ, Dept of Plant and Soil Science, Lubbock, TX 79409-2122
Agriculture in the Texas High Plains currently generates a combined annual economic value of crops and livestock that exceeds 5.6 billion dollars. Intensive crop and livestock production in this region over the past 125 yr has depended on water pumped from the Ogallala aquifer at rates that have far exceeded recharge. Today, declining water in the aquifer and escalating costs of energy to pump water, provide agricultural chemicals, and operate equipment are driving dramatic changes in producer decisions. Water policies, legal issues, and competeing uses for water will further impact water available for agriculture in the future. Anticipated changes in government farm programs and changing land uses are further shifting agricultural opportunities. Economic and environmental issues are impacting both crop and livestock industries. Agricultural systems that are less dependent on supplemental irrigation and less consumptive of non-renewable resources and energy are essential for this region and appear possible, but further knowledge is required to ensure the future of agriculture in the Texas High Plains.