The topic of “Water” in the agricultural industry is discussed almost anywhere you go these days. Whether you are at a meeting or talking with neighbors and friends, the lack of rainfall and underground water reserves is a concern for those who depend on it for growing and producing America’s food and fiber.
This topic was at the forefront of the 2018 Texas Groundwater Summit in San Antonio last month where the Texas Alliance of Groundwater Districts from across the state convened for their annual meeting to discuss the future of Texas water supplies.
The Texas Corn Producers (TCP) and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) partnered to participate in the event’s trade show to highlight the Water Grows Initiative. The partnership put agriculture front and center, sponsoring the session with keynote speaker Rodney Schronk, a central Texas farmer from Hillsboro.
TCP oversees the Water Grows campaign, which provides information into the economic significance of both agriculture and water. WaterGrows informs the public of water conservation measures being implemented by farmers with assistance of NRCS.
Since 1993, Schronk has been owner and managing partner of Schronk Agricultural Joint Venture, overseeing all aspects of a 6,200-acre corn, cotton, milo, sunflower, and wheat farm. He is also owner and president of Schronk Custom Ag, LTD, providing guidance and direction for a custom farming operation.
“No one has a greater stake in preserving groundwater than those of us who depend upon it for our livelihood,” Schronk told the audience of 350 groundwater industry leaders, community stakeholders, agency representatives and elected officials in attendance.350 groundwater industry leaders, community stakeholders, agency representatives and elected officials in attendance over 300 groundwater industry leaders, community stakeholders, agency representatives and policy makers.
Schronk’s presentation highlighted how farmers conserve water without reducing the economic vitality of the area they live in. He also provided insight into the challenges farmers face concerning public opinion about family farms versus corporate farms, and the misconception of a farmer’s view of caring for the water used on their land to grow crops.
Schronk was quick to point out farmers value water conservation and continue their daily efforts to ensure water is available for future generations, countering the perceptions that agricultural irrigation systems waste water and that water should be reserved for other uses.
He explained the improvements in plant genetics, irrigation technology and conservation tillage that helps farmers to produce more food with less water than the year before.
Watch here where Schronk and other Texas farmers share their conservation stories: Learn from Farmers!