“Whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting for.”

It’s a quote often attributed to Mark Twain. And while the era of the fight has changed, the fact it points to is true: Nothing can survive without water. And in western Kansas, it’s the lifeblood of the economy. The Ogallala Aquifer sustains the landscape here. It allows farmers to grow crops like corn. That spurred feedlots, packing plants, ethanol plants and other industry.

Without irrigation, as former Amazon ditch operator Louis DeKeyser told me in 2007, southwest Kansas would be "rattlesnakes and pack rats."

That’s why farmers like Dwane Roth are taking up the fight to preserve a finite resource. It’s a matter of survival.

In this issue of Kansas Agland, you'll learn more conservation tools to preserve and extend Kansas finite water resources. Meanwhile, Lane County farmer Vance Ehmke writes about the declining wheat acres. And, of course, this quarter’s issue features a guide to the upcoming 3i Show.

Yes, the mentality is changing because of progressive farmers like Roth who are putting their feet outside the box.

Kansas Agland Editor Amy Bickel's agriculture roots started in Gypsum. She has been covering Kansas agriculture for more than 15 years. Email her with news, photos and other information at abickel@hutchnews.com or by calling (800) 766-3311, ext. 320.