- Associated Press - Saturday, May 16, 2015

CLOVIS, N.M. (AP) - Federal officials say farmers and ranchers who depend on the Ogallala Aquifer will benefit from $6.5 million in funding.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced this week that it would be investing in projects in a handful of states with the goal of conserving billions of gallons of water to extend the life of the aquifer.

Underlying eight states, the Ogallala supports nearly one-fifth of the U.S. wheat, corn, cotton and cattle production. It has long been the main water supply for communities throughout the Great Plains and is being depleted at an unsustainable rate.

In eastern New Mexico, the Natural Resources Conservation Service plans to work with farmers to convert irrigated cropland to dryland systems and to restore grasslands.

Projects also are planned in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska and Texas.

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