The Texas Corn Producers Board and its members have launched a campaign to promote water conservation without sacrificing economic growth in response to potential restrictions on irrigation that they say will damage the state's economy.
“Agriculture brings billions of dollars into the economy of the Panhandle and South Plains every year and is the main driver of economic growth in the region,” said David Gibson, executive director of the board. “Through research and development of new technology, we are finding ways to grow more crops with less water. This means we can conserve water for future generations without sacrificing economic growth today.” Thanks to new irrigation methods and improved seed genetics, today a bushel of corn can be grown with half the water that was used 25 years ago, and researchers at Texas A&M AgriLife Research are currently testing new corn hybrids that will reduce water use by another 25%. Seed companies are developing new drought-tolerant crops and the first generation of these water-conserving crops will be available to farmers this year.
The campaign includes televised public service announcements, a 10-minute video and a new website with the slogan “Water grows our economy; let’s make it last.”
“Every person in this region of West Texas is affected by the availability of groundwater, but no one has a bigger stake in conserving water resources than the farmers whose livelihoods depend upon irrigation,” said Gibson. “That’s why we’re working with agencies like the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service to apply conservation practices that benefit everyone who lives and works in the region.”