Wheels of Fortune: A Report on the Impact of Center Pivot Irrigation on the Ownership of Land in Nebraska

Farm and Food
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As an irrigator who lives in one of the fastest developing irrigation areas of the state, I was pleased to serve on the study committee which oversaw the preparation of this report. The committee, consisting of two other irrigators and a University of Nebraska economist, was established by the Board of Directors of the Center for Rural Affairs in the summer of 1975 to provide guidance to the Center staff in developing material for this report.

The report is written with a point of view. It is the point of view of farmers and rural people who are concerned about the proper economic use of the natural resources, and about sustaining locally controlled communities which nurture the democratic spirit of America. We are not detached scientists unwilling to express our opinions.

On the other hand, we have tried to be fair, to present what we have found in an objective manner, saving for the end our own comments about the implications of our findings.

For the most part, the report describes changes which are taking place in the ownership of land irrigated by center pivot systems. It begins to answer the questions many of us have been asking each other over a cup of coffee: Who are the developers? Who benefits? Who will control?

Hopefully readers of this report will be able to judge more carefully the benefits or detriments of irrigation development in the state, and to chart for Nebraska's future a sounder course, environmentally and economically, for its People, Land, and Water--our only resources.

Robert Warrick
Meadow Grove, Nebraska
January 1976