The future of agriculture in the West depends on water.
The arid West is home to some of the longest continuously-farmed land in the United States. Indigenous communities have farmed here for millennia, growing desert-adapted crops like the Three Sisters—corn, beans, and squash—on as few as three inches of rainfall per year and through long periods of severe drought.
Aridity is nothing new, but new pressures are taking a toll on Western agriculture. Extended drought and climate change are colliding with a booming population, spiking demand for food and fresh water. This demand is driving thirsty cities to turn to agricultural areas for new water supplies, which has led to water being sold off the land, and farmers and local businesses following suit.
To ensure a future with farmers, we must first ensure a future with water. And young farmers are helping lead the way.
NYFC works across the West to protect water for agriculture, promote the good stewardship of that water, assist farmers and ranchers in adapting to drought and climate change, and provide young farmers and ranchers the resources they need to enter roles of water leadership. We do this through farmer-led policy reform, water law and policy education, and collaborative partnerships at the nexus of agriculture and conservation.
Have a story to tell about water? Contact Kate Greenberg.