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Summit topics focus on water management along with producers and rural communities who rely on the Ogallala Aquifer.

Shelley E. Huguley, Editor

February 4, 2021

2 Min Read
Ogallala Aquifer Virtual Summit to be held Feb. 24-25, 2021. Shelley E. Huguley

The Ogallala Aquifer is one of the largest fresh groundwater resources, underlying 175,000 square miles or 112 million acres across eight states. Water pumped from the High Plains aquifer system supports nearly 30% of the U.S. irrigated crop production along with cattle, dairy and hog production, according to  

The aquifer is recharged primarily by precipitation. Use along with limited rainfall has reduced the aquifer's water quantity and quality. To address concerns and ongoing aquifer projects and priorities that could benefit producers, communities and the aquifer, an Ogallala Aquifer Virtual Summit is being held Feb. 24-25, 2021.  

Producers and other water management leaders from each of the eight states overlying the Ogallala Aquifer (South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Texas) will gather to address the following questions: 

1. What on-farm, district, or state-level decisions and policies could support shifts in water management to ensure future generations will be able to continue to farm and live in the Ogallala region? 

2. What can be done so that rural communities remain vital in parts of the region where aquifer depletion means irrigated agriculture will no longer serve as much of an economic backbone in coming years or decades? 

Topics covered during the summit will include updates on projects, new programs, activities and policies inspired, in part, to an earlier eight-state Ogallala summit held in Garden City, Kan., in April of 2018. Participants will share their expertise and identify opportunities and gaps requiring attention, resources, and expanded collaboration within and across state lines to benefit agriculture and the region’s communities, according to a recent release.  

“Water conservation technologies are helpful, and we need more of them, but human decision-making is the real key to conserving the Ogallala,” said Brent Auvermann, center director, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Research, Amarillo. “The emergence of voluntary associations among agricultural water users to reduce groundwater use is an encouraging step, and we need to learn from those associations’ experiences with regard to what works, and what doesn’t, and what possibilities exist that don’t require expanding the regulatory state.” 

Registration for the summit is $40; the fee for producers and students attending the 2-day event is $20. A detailed schedule of this event is available at  

The summit is hosted by the USDA-NIFA Ogallala Water Coordinated Agriculture Project (OWCAP) team, the Kansas Water Office, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, and the USDA-ARS supported Ogallala Aquifer Program. 

Read more about:

Ogallala Aquifer

About the Author(s)

Shelley E. Huguley

Editor, Southwest Farm Press

Shelley Huguley has been involved in agriculture for the last 25 years. She began her career in agricultural communications at the Texas Forest Service West Texas Nursery in Lubbock, where she developed and produced the Windbreak Quarterly, a newspaper about windbreak trees and their benefit to wildlife, production agriculture and livestock operations. While with the Forest Service she also served as an information officer and team leader on fires during the 1998 fire season and later produced the Firebrands newsletter that was distributed quarterly throughout Texas to Volunteer Fire Departments. Her most personal involvement in agriculture also came in 1998, when she married the love of her life and cotton farmer Preston Huguley of Olton, Texas. As a farmwife, she knows first-hand the ups and downs of farming, the endless decisions made each season based on “if” it rains, “if” the drought continues, “if” the market holds. She is the bookkeeper for their family farming operation and cherishes moments on the farm such as taking harvest meals to the field or starting a sprinkler in the summer with the whole family lending a hand. Shelley has also freelanced for agricultural companies such as Olton CO-OP Gin, producing the newsletter Cotton Connections while also designing marketing materials to promote the gin. She has published articles in agricultural publications such as Southwest Farm Press while also volunteering her marketing and writing skills to non-profit organizations such as Refuge Services, an equine-assisted therapy group in Lubbock. She and her husband reside in Olton with their three children Breely, Brennon and HalleeKate.

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