Wish you were here. Pratt Kansas
The Wizard of OZ would have been impressed, because Dorothy we were in Kansas.
The aquifer under Kansas' legendary farmland has dropped over '60 feet in the last decade' exclaimed the Director of Agriculture for the State of Kansas in his presentation. The farmers in the audience were not shock or appalled - they already knew this fact. I didn't. It shocked me. 60 feet? Sixty? Like 6 stories of a building -- gone under 70% of the state? A state known for its food production which feeds the entire world. No gasps from the crowd? No one said "That's not true".
The next speaker said his neighbors, who followed 'traditional and accepted agricultural practices lost 100% of their corn crop to drought in 2022'. WTF? 100% loss? No water to grow corn... This farmer went on to say he used regenerative agricultural techniques (which are not insurable by USDA crop insurance) and he had a bumped crop of corn, with no irrigation, and only 1 fertilizer application. That the natural carbon he built up in his soil held the little water there enough to grow the corn.
Why wouldn't every farmer switch? The answer is simple and complex. The crop insurance only pays if you play by the historic rules, but the historic farming methods have failed. Still a farmer with a failed harvest, who plays by the rules gets compensated. If you try something new, and fail you lose.
Do the math. It's all quite rational and destructive at the same time.