NASS Reports on Irrigation Use

Efficiency and reduced energy and water use found.

Published on: Dec 4, 2009

USDA's 2008 Farm and Ranch Survey has found that farmers and ranchers are now irrigating 54.9 million acres of farmland across the United States, an increase of nearly 5% since 2003. Despite the changes in application methods, equipment in general continues to be one of the leading expenses of irrigation. In 2008, farmers and ranchers spent $2.1 billion on expenses related to irrigation equipment, facilities, land improvements and computer technology.


The irrigation report also provides insight into farmers' energy and water conservation practices. Between 2003 and 2008, a total of 74,846 farms implemented changes in equipment or management practices that reduced energy use and/or conserved water. Nearly 46% of these farms reported reduced energy cost and 59% reported a reduction in the amount of water applied.


The survey results show a continuing trend towards more efficient irrigation methods as farmers reported irrigating 15% more acres with sprinkler systems and 5% less with gravity irrigation. And for the first time, the National Agricultural Statics Service gathered information on the use of recycled and reclaimed water. A total of 9,843 farms reported using recycled water and 3,205 used reclaimed water.