Drought, water worries cloud skies for US farmers

Drought, water worries cloud skies for US farmersAs the United States bakes in one of the hottest summers since the Dust Bowl years of the 1930s, drought from the Dakotas to Arizona through Alabama has sharpened the focus of farmers on their lifeline- water.

Eighty percent of all fresh water consumed in the United States is used to produce food. But years of drought, diversion of water to growing urban areas and, most lately, concerns about global warming are feeding worries.

Specifically, farmers fear the U.S. Plains is facing its limits as a world producer of wheat, beef, vegetable oils and other crops due to long-term water shortages.

"Farmers aren't going to be able to produce enough food to feed the world because there's a finite amount of water left in the world. There are many folks that will tell you the next war will not be over gold, silver or land, it will be over water," said Ed Burchfield, director of facilities for Valmont Industries, which makes irrigation equipment.

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