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Goshen and Scotts Bluff Counties reside in the High Plains and receive less than 16 inches of average annual precipitation. This low precipitation makes surface-water irrigation a critical component of modern agriculture in this area. Farmers in these counties produce irrigated alfalfa hay, corn, sugar beets, and dry edible beans, as well as other hay and crops.
Surface-water refers to water derived from melted snow that is delivered through a series of dams and canals from the mountains of Colorado and Wyoming along the North Platte River. This infrastructure, often referred to as “The North Platte Project,” was built by the Department of Interior and Bureau of Reclamation in the early 1900s. The North Platte Project has supplied surface-water to 368,433 acres of farmland in Nebraska and Wyoming for over a century.