Credit Luke Runyon / KUNC and Harvest Public Media
Fourth generation farmer Kent Peppler will have a hard time securing irrigation water this year. The ongoing drought has forced cities to hold on to their supplies, leaving farmers like Peppler to fallow some of his fields in Mead, Colorado.
Farmers throughout the Great Plains are preparing for what could be a tough growing season. They’re in a tight spot with irrigation water, due to the region’s persistent drought.
Denver and Fort Collins have started mandatory watering restrictions response to persistent drought conditions. Greeley and Colorado Springs are expected to follow suit. Residents who violate the law could be fined as much as $1,000.
The devastating drought in the Midwest last summer is a story often told by the numbers, with statistics on large crop failures, days without rain and thousands of parched acres.
This story is also about a tree — a bur oak in rural Columbia, Mo., that everyone calls "The Big Tree." Although it's survived all kinds of punishments during its 350 years on the prairie, last year's record drought was especially tough.