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In This Issue
High Plains Goal: Managing Ogallala Aquifer
U.S. Cotton Prospects Strong In Vietnam
Variable Rate Irrigation: Worth Another Look
AIM For Water Conservation
It Takes Flexibility To Farm In West Texas
Editor's Note: Our Water Sources Must Be Protected
Cotton's Agenda: Arresting Resistance
Cotton Ginners Marketplace: Enrollment May Increase At Stoneville Gin School
Specialists Speaking
Industry Comments
Web Poll: In Reader Poll,
Buy-Up Bypasses CAT
My Turn: Papa’s Bell

Our Water Sources Must Be Protected

By Tommy Horton
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In case you were wondering, we are now into that wonderful month that gives us those hot and sweltering temperatures of summer. Hard to believe isn’t it? How can we possibly be halfway through this year? It seems like it was only yesterday that we were all leaving the Beltwide Cotton Conferences in New Orleans and driving north on Interstate 55 during a winter snowstorm.

Or maybe it was the National Cotton Council’s Annual Meeting in Memphis in February when we were hit by yet another snowstorm. Just thinking about those events makes me want to put on a winter overcoat and try to stay warm.

At any rate, here we are in June, and now it’s time for a warm weather topic. It’s time for our magazine’s yearly examination of water issues that affect cotton producers. This seems to be a topic that evolves into something unusual every year. In 2009, we talked about the need for all producers to be precise when managing an irrigation system on their farms. And that is always good advice no matter where you produce cotton.

This year we are looking at different water issues. For many years, we’ve observed the situation in the Texas High Plains where producers depend on the Ogallala Aquifer as their primary water source. This aquifer is extremely crucial to the future of production agriculture in that region as well as seven other states in the Midwest. Simply put, the aquifer has a difficult time recharging itself, and its water must be managed meticulously.

The High Plains Underground Water Conservation District in Lubbock has given us an inside view of how the issue is being dealt with today. With the help of this group along with Extension agronomist Randy Boman, Extension irrigation specialist Dana Porter and producer Steve Newsom, we’ve gained a new perspective on how all parties are working together to maintain, manage and protect this water source. They are all part of our cover story on pages 12 and 13.

Senior writer Carroll Smith also gives an update on some exciting new developments in variable rate irrigation technology that could have application for producers in all regions. Her story is on pages 14 and 15. Finally, Southeast Editor Amanda Huber tells us about key alliances in her region that are making water conservation a reality. You can find her report on page 19.

It’s almost a cliche to say that water is crucial for effective cotton production. But we need to keep reminding ourselves all the time about this. Ask any farmer on the High Plains about the importance of the Ogallala Aquifer, and you’ll get the same answer.

Losing any water source is simply not an option.

If you have comments, send them to: Editor, Cotton Farming Magazine, 5118 Park Ave., Suite 111, Memphis, Tenn., 38117. Or send e-mail to:

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