Ag Policy Blog
Chris Clayton DTN Ag Policy Editor

Wednesday 08/21/13

Reporting on the Ogallala Aquifer
We had a hard time coming up with a series title for our reports this week on the Ogallala aquifer. We went back and forth over various suggestions that implied waning waters, mining the aquifer or sustaining it. In the end, we came up with "Stretching the Ogallala."[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 6:03AM CDT 08/21/13 by Chris Clayton | Post a Comment
Comments (10)
Using a nonrenewable resource (water Ogallala aquifer) to grow corn for ethanol when we have a renewable resource oil (see ) makes no sense. The Obama war on energy driving up the cost of energy for Americans is just another war against the poor driving still more people on food stamps and government dependency.
Posted by John Olson at 7:13AM CDT 08/21/13
Chris I don't understand your point here since Global climate change has been denounced by your party. Are you saying Dougherty's concern is real?
Posted by Jay Mcginnis at 5:28AM CDT 08/22/13
Good one John, "oil is a renewable resource" right along with Obama is a Muslim, black helicopters, Obama's "war on (fill in the blank Rush)", Russian solders in major US cities, birtherism, climate change is good and all the other insanity of the right,,,, now we have Oil is renewable! Which of the Koche brothers dreamt that one up???
Posted by Jay Mcginnis at 5:37AM CDT 08/22/13
Jay - I won't address your false accusations. Regarding renewable abiotic oil see - or or or The abiotic theory has been around for a very long time. It certainly is more believable than the dinosaurs becoming oil fairy tale. Try educating yourself sometime Jay.
Posted by John Olson at 7:23AM CDT 08/22/13
This is the place to start, "The aquifer literally pumps economic life into the Southern Plains." In other economic terms, the aquifer is capital, or more precise, natural capital. If transactions or activities place no value on a capital that generates value, it can be considered an economic externality. Humans have had a good run with an economic system chock full of externalities. Its kind of like a party that generates no hangovers - no negative feedback of the consequences, except perhaps when your liver goes. A sobering moment is nearing. Our economic system will need to mature and begin to add these externalities into the economic system so that our mundane activities have the values incorporated into them. Agriculture is a good place to start as the soil and water natural capital is the basis for humanity. And one could guess that agriculture is the birthplace of the economic system. After a decade of applying various ecocommerce models with logical success, but with limited success in adding this ecological dimension to the economy, I discovered a new route; disruptive conservation. It is a take on the Innovator's Dilemma and disruptive innovation. It explains why established system's prevail past their prime and then fail big. We could cross the Ogallala off our accounting ledger sheet, and we most likely will, and survive just fine, but we cannot afford to cross off the renewable systems. The only way to maintain a positive balance sheet is to incorporate these values into the economic system and allow humans to actually understand the full value - not the price of cashing it in.
Posted by Timothy Gieseke at 8:50AM CDT 08/22/13
Jay, I do have to interject. Yes, I am actually registered as a Republican, mainly because most of my local elections are settled in the GOP primary. However, I've been reporting on climate science for several years now. Most people believe I have bought into a global scientific hoax rather than being in the denier camp.
Posted by CHRIS CLAYTON at 10:00AM CDT 08/22/13
Being from SW Kansas, I can say that our aquifers have been slowly receding throughout the last 50 years. Most of our area is dependent on the Arkansas river replenishing the aquifer. The problems we have stems from the fact that Colorado's John Martin reservoir has not been releasing an adequate amount of water to let the river flow through our state. If you are ever in Dodge City, KS you will notice that the river is dry. The growing population of people in the mountains are using more and more water thus they are releasing less and less water down stream to us. There have been multiple law suits between the state of Kansas and other states over this issue. Another factor is the amount of trees along the river. There used to be hardly any trees in the riverbed or that extended much further from the bank than 15-30 yard of the river. Now they grow all throughout the riverbed as well as along the river banks. While great for deer hunting, those adult trees will consume around 100 gallons of water per day during the summer. Multiply the number of extra trees by 100 gallons per day and you are looking at a very large number.
Posted by Aaron Cross at 4:41PM CDT 08/22/13
Good article Chris. Some people grasp, manipulate and twist any article, information or comment in an attempt to promote an agenda. Has anyone ever thought that oil may be a result of climate change? Items which were once on the surface are being found thousands of feet underground. Some on the climate change agenda once were the global warmers. The two are different. I do not think I am aware of anyone denying "climate change". The desert S.W., like the Sahara Desert, have different boundaries than a thousand years ago. One needs to remember, if irrigation were halted, lines would form at the grocery store, waiting for grocerys from somewhere. Also, most cival wars have resulted from a shortage of food for the masses.
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 6:39AM CDT 08/23/13
Irrigation is great where water resources are adequate and where water sources are being renewed. If you are against grocery lines Bonnie I would hope you are for eliminating the rfs and are not one of the corn ethanol promotion groupies. Then again perhaps you are not concerned about grocery lines in other countries and are for promoting the rfs agenda. No one is disputing that many energy sources have biological beginnings. Most people also recognize that energy sources can also come from non biological matter as due those who theorize that oil can be abiotic.
Posted by John Olson at 7:13AM CDT 08/23/13
It is noteworthy that the man who figured out the periodic table also supported the abiotic theory of oil formation. Also noteworthy is the presence of methane through out the planet system where no biological activity is present. See
Posted by John Olson at 12:53PM CDT 08/25/13
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