Date of this Version
The series of graphs and maps which follow illustrate agricultural land use changes in Nebraska from 1925 to 1974. With these graphs and maps, the major agronomic crops of corn (dryland and irrigated), wheat, sorghum and soybeans are analyzed. The purpose of this analysis is to provide a pictorial history of Nebraska's ever-changing cropping system and, hopefully, to stimulate ideas and discussion with regard to trends and future directions. The Nebraska Water Resources Center is deeply interested in both the past and the future of Nebraska's agriculture because of the demands which agriculture places on the state's water resources. An examination of the maps showing land use changes within counties across the state will reveal not only the ever-growing magnitude of this demand, but also its evolving spatial characteristics. In 1925 crop production in Nebraska was almost exclusively dryland, and corn was the primary crop. Although corn is still our primary crop, irrigation has greatly altered the nature of its geographic importance. Additionally, alterations in the pattern of wheat acreages and the introduction of sorghum and soybeans have modified and diversified Nebraska's crop production system. From the above, one can conclude that Nebraska's water resources are being utilized far differently today than in the past. Because demands are increasing and our water resources finite, it is easy to understand the growing conflicts among users. The Water Resources Center hopes that the information presented in this publication will broaden our comprehension of the past and thereby assist in a better understanding of future issues and the conflicts which may confront us.