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Abstract

Irrigation development in the Pacific Northwest expanded rapidly during the 1960s and 1970s when economic conditions, including very cheap electricity for pumping water, were favorable for this activity. Thousands of acre of land were irrigated that required lifting water 400 feet or more. The cost of energy for irrigation pumping has risen as much as 400% in recent years, and many of these high pump lift farms are in serious economic difficulty. This study shoes that farms with pump lifts exceeding 400 feet will not be able to replace capital irrigation equipment to remain in production in the long run. Land values on these farms will be determined by dryland production alternatives leaving no rents to sustain the incentive for irrigation.

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