Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Document Type


Date of this Version



Thesis (M.S.)—University of Nebraska—Lincoln, 1964. Department of Agriculture Economics.


Copyright 1964, the author. Used by permission.


The physical effects of irrigation in an area are readily apparent. To the casual observer, fresh paint, bulging corn cribs, automobiles, and new farm machinery are visible economic indicators of the well being of one area relative to another. A more careful observer may relate this economic phenomenon geographically to the presence of a special resource, irrigation water. In areas developed by individual farm wells, there has been no dramatic influx of dam builders and irrigation engineers to focus attention on the development. The effect, however, is much the same in the aggregate.

The purpose of this study was to investigate these effects and evaluate them in economic terms. The aggregate on-farm effects are in a way an ex post benefit-cost analysis of the development. The analysis provides a yardstick to measure the validity of basic assumptions used in the analysis of proposed projects.

This study found that, contrary to popular belief, irrigation had little or no effect on dampening down the trend toward larger and fewer farms in this area. It apparently did create more employment, both rural and nonfarm, but the effect was much greater in the nonfarm sector. Population changes were much the same, a small effect in the rural-farm sector and a much greater effect in the nonfarm segment of the economy.

Advisor: James B. Hassler