Cornhusker Economics: Nebraska's Irrigated Acreage Continues to Grow

Cornhusker Economics: Nebraska's Irrigated Acreage Continues to Grow

Nebraska map showing 2013 irrigated acre by county

December 6, 2013

With the rapid rise in commodity prices over the last few years and the drought of 2012, irrigated acreage across the state continues to increase and is now estimated at 9.1 million acres. Two agricultural economists at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln look at this trend and what it could portend for the future of farming in Nebraska in a recent Cornhusker Economics.

"... the expanded acreage of irrigated cropland is greatest in the North and the Northeast Agricultural Statistics Districts, where water moratoriums limiting further irrigation development are not presently in place. In both regions, there was a 14 percent growth rate over the past five years," wrote Jim Jansen, research assistant, and Bruce Johnson, professor, in the Department of Agricultural Economics. Among the facts they share:

  • Since the beginning of 2008, there have been 4,075 new irrigation wells registered with the State Department of Natural Resources.
  • The largest increases have been in Antelope and Holt counties.

See the full article, including a map of irrigated acres by county, and tables of irrigated acres by district and the top 20 irrigated counties.