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Kansas farmer supports recommendation of preserving Ogallala Aquifer

A Western Kansas farmer says it’s critical that the state’s agriculture community support a recommendation to preserve the Ogallala Aquifer.

David Schemm tells Brownfield wells have dried up in his area over the last decade and it’s had lasting economic impacts. “It is by far, in my opinion, way more important to ensure that I have water to drink when I get back to my house, that we have water for our animals and livestock, and I think that’s what it comes down to that we prioritize the correct thing there.”

The Kansas Water Authority recently recommended the state move away from its long-standing policy of draining the Aquifer for irrigation use.

 Schemm says the agency’s decision is a step in the right direction. “We have successfully converted over to dryland.  With today’s technology, we’re learning to do a better and better job of tweaking our production on dryland.  Does it replace irrigation? No, I’m not suggesting it does, but you can do a lot here.”

He says the biggest impact is to rural communities. “It’s not an easy solution.  The first thing is to make sure we have water for domestic use, for the household, for towns.  From personal experience, everything on the operation stops when mom doesn’t have water for cooking or showering or anything like that.”

Schemm says he’s hopeful the change could preserve the Aquifer for his son and future generations.

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