Water in the Farm Ecosystem

Kokosing River
The Kokosing River consists of water that has drained
from farms in Knox County.
Water is essential for all life on the farm. Farmers obtain most of the water for their crops from rain. Rain water that is not absorbed by the soil and plant roots runs into streams and rivers.

Eco Info
Agriculture uses 42% of all the water drawn in high-income countries like the United States.

Farmers in areas where there is not enough rain for their crops to grow must irrigate their fields. Irrigation is how farmers move water from underground or streams to their fields with pipes and ditches.

Eco Info
About 80% of the water withdrawn for agriculture never reaches the crops because of evaporation and leaky pipes and ditches.

Farmers obtain most of the drinking water for their livestock from streams or underground wells. Animals that drink from streams may also leave their waste in the streams, and animal waste contains bacteria that can cause humans to become sick.

Where does the water that you drink come from?

Eco Info
2500 gallons (9500 liters) of water are used to raise and process one pound of beef!
80 gallons (300 liters) of water are used to grow and process one ear of corn!

"I think that some of the biggest worries for farmers around here would be surface and groundwater contamination either by chemicals or by animals waste"
Oscar Will, College Township

Farmers are concerned about the quality of water available to their families, animals and crops. After heavy rains, chemicals that farmers apply to their fields to kill insects and weeds can wash into streams and rivers, and be carried far from the farm to lakes and reservoirs. Eroded soil particles that are carried by water into streams can cover the bottoms of streams and destroy the homes of the fish and other animals that live there.

Stream and pasture photo

A stream flowing through a cattle pasture on a Knox County farm may carry waste and mud created by the animals.
Photos by Emily Sprowls

Wheat straw What are some ways that farmers can preserve water quality in streams, rivers and groundwater?
Wheat straw Why is water quality important to the farmer?
Wheat straw Why is water quality important to you?
Wheat straw List some ways you can preserve water quality.
Back to The Farm Ecosytem Nature

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