Farmers to Blame for Not Conserving Water? - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Farmers to Blame for Not Conserving Water?

Billy Bob Brown Billy Bob Brown

Farmers in our area are becoming a target of water conservationists.

Corn is one of the most profitable crops right now..

While some say farmers are cashing in by using up our water supply, farmers say not so fast.

Billy Bob Brown says corn is one of his and the communities best options right now in a shaky economy.

"There is more money in that, so in turn we have more money to share with the community and not only in our local communities but throughout the panhandle."

Emmitt Autry with the City of Amarillo says, "The one very complex factor is that the economy drives water usage some times in spite of the efforts at water conservation. Right now for example the price of corn is really high and so a lot of people want to raise corn."

It has more than 3,000 uses and that is why it is economically feasible to grow corn in our area, the problem is it takes a lot of water, in fact, 20 inches or more.

While he is using a lot of water... He isn't turning a huge profit because that water cost.

Just four years ago... Brown was paying $2.35 for every 1,000 cubic feet of natural gas to power his irrigation equipment... This month he paid more than 13 dollars a thousand cubic feet.

Brown says, "It's close... We can't raise the corn for anywhere near the same price that we could two years ago. In fact in the new Farm Bill they have a safety net of what they call loan rates and target price rates. And there is no way in the world that we can go to that level and sustain ourselves. There is no safety net."

Brown says he is conserving water by installing new irrigation methods like center pivots.

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