Ogallala Aquifer Key to Ag Success
8:00 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Kansas Agriculture: What Counties Make the Most Money?

Irrigation Sprinkler in Southwest Kansas
Credit harvestpublicmedia.org

The top ag revenue counties in Kansas are not in the east where water flows freely in rivers and creeks.  The top producers are in the dry west according to Drovers Cattle Network.

Scott, Haskell, Finney, Gray, Grant, Ford, Wichita and Seward—together sold more than $4.7 billion in crops and livestock, which is about one-third of total agriculture revenue for the entire state according to 2007 Census Data.

Here’s how they stack up: 

  • Scott: $72 million for crops; $691 million for livestock; $763 million total
  • Haskell: $116 million for crops; $602 million for livestock; $718 million total
  • Finney: $141 million for crops; $553 million for livestock; $694 million total
  • Gray: $109 million for crops; $582 million for livestock; $691 million total
  • Grant: $64 million for crops; $513 for livestock; $577 million total
  • Ford: $87 million for crops; $387 million for livestock; $474 million total
  • Wichita: no specific crop and livestock totals available; $449 million total
  • Seward: $82 million for crops; $280 million for livestock; $362 million total

The continued success of these eight contiguous counties relies on water, underground water from the Ogallala Aquifer to be specific.  A recent study from Kansas State University researchers predict if current usage levels continue, 69 percent of the underground supply will be used by 2060. 

Production in these counties is important to farmers and ranchers in the area, but also to the state’s overall economy.  K-State has developed a strategic plan to address the challenges of reducing water and maintaining production.

“That particular goal in our strategic plan is really about providing growers in western Kansas with cropping alternatives for dryland or limited irrigation scenarios that will help us prolong the lifespan of the aquifer,” said John Floros, dean of the College of Agriculture and director of K-State Research and Extension.

The 2007 agricultural census data is the most recent data available.  The U.S. Census of Agriculture is completed every five years.  2012 data should be available in early 2014.