He said Texas has the nation’s largest rural population and ranks No. 1 in cotton and beef cattle production. He said even though agriculture makes up about 10 percent of Texas’ gross state product, many Texans fail to understand the industry.
That misunderstanding can lead to conflict, particularly when there is a perceived disconnect between the service the agriculture community provides and the resources it requires.
“Agriculture gets beat up in Texas today because we are the state’s No. 1 water user,” Staples said. “And in a time of drought when municipalities do not have the water they need, it causes tremendous friction, as you can well imagine, between the municipal users and the agricultural producers.”
However, Staples said, agricultural water usage has dropped 40 percent between 1974 and 2010, while yields in cotton, corn and cattle have doubled in the last 50 years.
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