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With much of the state lying over the Ogallala Aquifer, Nebraska has a valuable irrigation endowment. According to USDA’s 1997 National Resources Inventory, Nebraska has more than 7 million acres of irrigated cultivated cropland. Only one other state, Texas, has more cultivated cropland; and that state has been experiencing a steady decline in irrigated acres over the past quarter century.
While the economic significance of these irrigation assets to the state’s economy seems obvious, it is somewhat surprising to find no clear consensus as to how many acres are really under irrigation. Nor has there been any definitive information on the acreage distribution by type of irrigation system.