The water level in the alluvial aquifer that underlies much of the Mississippi Delta has been dropping about a foot a year since growers began irrigating in the 1950s and 1960s. The number of irrigation wells, meanwhile, has nearly tripled. Farmers like Pete Hunter are taking major steps to address the issue of a declining water table and runoff as Hunter explains in this video.
Hunter, a longtime cotton, corn, soybean and grain sorghum producer, spoke to a group of congressional staff members who toured the Delta region of Mississippi. The tour was arranged by the Delta Council and featured stops at the farms of Delta Council leaders like former Delta Council President Bowen Flowers.
The congressional staffers were among a number of visitors who have toured Stovall Farms in recent years. Founded in 1838, Stovall Farms is the oldest operation that has been in the hands of one family and one of the oldest farms in the Delta region.
The tailwater recovery systems not only keep runoff from the farm to a minimum, but it also helps save Hunter money, both in lower pumping costs for relifting water back to fields instead of from deep in the ground and reduced wear and tear on equipment. "It's both saving and making me money because it's much cheaper to operate these relift pumps than to pump water out of the ground."