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  • Brett Oelke, left, watches as workers prepare to store the corn harvest on his family's 6,000-acre farm outside of Hoxie, Kan., on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. As historically dry conditions continue, farmers from South Dakota to the Texas panhandle rely on the Ogallala Aquifer, the largest underground aquifer in the United States, to irrigate crops. After decades of use, the falling water level ? accelerated by historic drought conditions over the last two years ? is putting pressure on farmers to ease usage or risk becoming the last generation to grow crops on the land. Farmers like Mitchell Baalman (not pictured) and Brett Oelke are part of a farming community in in Sheridan County, Kansas, an agricultural hub in western Kansas, who have agreed to cut back on water use for crop irrigation so that their children and future generations can continue to farm and sustain themselves on the High Plains.
    KANWATER_27.JPG
  • Paul Oelke, right, grandfather of Brett Oelke (not pictured) prepares to store the corn harvest on his family's 6,000-acre farm outside of Hoxie, Kan., on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. As historically dry conditions continue, farmers from South Dakota to the Texas panhandle rely on the Ogallala Aquifer, the largest underground aquifer in the United States, to irrigate crops. After decades of use, the falling water level ? accelerated by historic drought conditions over the last two years ? is putting pressure on farmers to ease usage or risk becoming the last generation to grow crops on the land. Farmers like Mitchell Baalman (not pictured) and Brett Oelke are part of a farming community in in Sheridan County, Kansas, an agricultural hub in western Kansas, who have agreed to cut back on water use for crop irrigation so that their children and future generations can continue to farm and sustain themselves on the High Plains.
    KANWATER_26.JPG
  • Brett Oelke prepares to dig out a center pivot irrigation system that has become stuck in the mud on his family's 6,000-acre farm outside of Hoxie, Kan., on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. As historically dry conditions continue, farmers from South Dakota to the Texas panhandle rely on the Ogallala Aquifer, the largest underground aquifer in the United States, to irrigate crops. After decades of use, the falling water level ? accelerated by historic drought conditions over the last two years ? is putting pressure on farmers to ease usage or risk becoming the last generation to grow crops on the land. Farmers like Mitchell Baalman (not pictured) and Brett Oelke are part of a farming community in in Sheridan County, Kansas, an agricultural hub in western Kansas, who have agreed to cut back on water use for crop irrigation so that their children and future generations can continue to farm and sustain themselves on the High Plains.
    KANWATER_28.JPG
  • A center pivot irrigation system sits on the Oelke family farm outside of Hoxie, Kan., on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. As historically dry conditions continue, farmers from South Dakota to the Texas panhandle rely on the Ogallala Aquifer, the largest underground aquifer in the United States, to irrigate crops. After decades of use, the falling water level ? accelerated by historic drought conditions over the last two years ? is putting pressure on farmers to ease usage or risk becoming the last generation to grow crops on the land. Farmers like Mitchell Baalman and Brett Oelke (not pictured) are part of a farming community in in Sheridan County, Kansas, an agricultural hub in western Kansas, who have agreed to cut back on water use for crop irrigation so that their children and future generations can continue to farm and sustain themselves on the High Plains.
    KANWATER_30.JPG
  • Cattle graze on the Oelke family farm outside of Hoxie, Kan., on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. As historically dry conditions continue, farmers from South Dakota to the Texas panhandle rely on the Ogallala Aquifer, the largest underground aquifer in the United States, to irrigate crops. After decades of use, the falling water level ? accelerated by historic drought conditions over the last two years ? is putting pressure on farmers to ease usage or risk becoming the last generation to grow crops on the land. Farmers like Mitchell Baalman and Brett Oelke (not pictured) are part of a farming community in in Sheridan County, Kansas, an agricultural hub in western Kansas, who have agreed to cut back on water use for crop irrigation so that their children and future generations can continue to farm and sustain themselves on the High Plains.
    KANWATER_29.JPG
  • Brett Oelke prepares to dig out a center pivot irrigation system that has become stuck in the mud on his family's 6,000-acre farm outside of Hoxie, Kan., on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. As historically dry conditions continue, farmers from South Dakota to the Texas panhandle rely on the Ogallala Aquifer, the largest underground aquifer in the United States, to irrigate crops. After decades of use, the falling water level ? accelerated by historic drought conditions over the last two years ? is putting pressure on farmers to ease usage or risk becoming the last generation to grow crops on the land. Farmers like Mitchell Baalman (not pictured) and Brett Oelke are part of a farming community in in Sheridan County, Kansas, an agricultural hub in western Kansas, who have agreed to cut back on water use for crop irrigation so that their children and future generations can continue to farm and sustain themselves on the High Plains.
    KANWATER_31.JPG
  • Brett Oelke, right, tries to pull out a center pivot irrigation system that has become stuck in the mud on his family's 6,000-acre farm outside of Hoxie, Kan., on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. As historically dry conditions continue, farmers from South Dakota to the Texas panhandle rely on the Ogallala Aquifer, the largest underground aquifer in the United States, to irrigate crops. After decades of use, the falling water level ? accelerated by historic drought conditions over the last two years ? is putting pressure on farmers to ease usage or risk becoming the last generation to grow crops on the land. Farmers like Mitchell Baalman (not pictured) and Brett Oelke are part of a farming community in in Sheridan County, Kansas, an agricultural hub in western Kansas, who have agreed to cut back on water use for crop irrigation so that their children and future generations can continue to farm and sustain themselves on the High Plains.
    KANWATER_32.JPG
  • An overcast day gives hope of much needed rain for the Oelke family on their 6,000-acre farm outside of Hoxie, Kan., on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. As historically dry conditions continue, farmers from South Dakota to the Texas panhandle rely on the Ogallala Aquifer, the largest underground aquifer in the United States, to irrigate crops. After decades of use, the falling water level ? accelerated by historic drought conditions over the last two years ? is putting pressure on farmers to ease usage or risk becoming the last generation to grow crops on the land. Farmers like Mitchell Baalman and Brett Oelke (not pictured) are part of a farming community in in Sheridan County, Kansas, an agricultural hub in western Kansas, who have agreed to cut back on water use for crop irrigation so that their children and future generations can continue to farm and sustain themselves on the High Plains.
    KANWATER_33.JPG
  • Brett Oelke inspects the pump for a center pivot irrigation system on his family's 6,000-acre farm outside of Hoxie, Kan., on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. As historically dry conditions continue, farmers from South Dakota to the Texas panhandle rely on the Ogallala Aquifer, the largest underground aquifer in the United States, to irrigate crops. After decades of use, the falling water level ? accelerated by historic drought conditions over the last two years ? is putting pressure on farmers to ease usage or risk becoming the last generation to grow crops on the land. Farmers like Mitchell Baalman (not pictured) and Brett Oelke are part of a farming community in in Sheridan County, Kansas, an agricultural hub in western Kansas, who have agreed to cut back on water use for crop irrigation so that their children and future generations can continue to farm and sustain themselves on the High Plains.
    KANWATER_35.JPG
  • Brett Oelke, right, and his farm hand, Ethan Walters, work on pulling out a center pivot irrigation system that has become stuck in the mud on the family's 6,000-acre farm outside of Hoxie, Kan., on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. As historically dry conditions continue, farmers from South Dakota to the Texas panhandle rely on the Ogallala Aquifer, the largest underground aquifer in the United States, to irrigate crops. After decades of use, the falling water level ? accelerated by historic drought conditions over the last two years ? is putting pressure on farmers to ease usage or risk becoming the last generation to grow crops on the land. Farmers like Mitchell Baalman (not pictured) and Brett Oelke are part of a farming community in in Sheridan County, Kansas, an agricultural hub in western Kansas, who have agreed to cut back on water use for crop irrigation so that their children and future generations can continue to farm and sustain themselves on the High Plains.
    KANWATER_34.JPG
  • Brett Oelke stands for a portrait next to a center pivot irrigation system on his family's 6,000-acre farm outside of Hoxie, Kan., on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. As historically dry conditions continue, farmers from South Dakota to the Texas panhandle rely on the Ogallala Aquifer, the largest underground aquifer in the United States, to irrigate crops. After decades of use, the falling water level ? accelerated by historic drought conditions over the last two years ? is putting pressure on farmers to ease usage or risk becoming the last generation to grow crops on the land. Farmers like Mitchell Baalman (not pictured) and Brett Oelke are part of a farming community in in Sheridan County, Kansas, an agricultural hub in western Kansas, who have agreed to cut back on water use for crop irrigation so that their children and future generations can continue to farm and sustain themselves on the High Plains.
    KANWATER_36.JPG
  • A center pivot irrigation system sits on the Oelke family farm outside of Hoxie, Kan., on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. As historically dry conditions continue, farmers from South Dakota to the Texas panhandle rely on the Ogallala Aquifer, the largest underground aquifer in the United States, to irrigate crops. After decades of use, the falling water level ? accelerated by historic drought conditions over the last two years ? is putting pressure on farmers to ease usage or risk becoming the last generation to grow crops on the land. Farmers like Mitchell Baalman and Brett Oelke (both not pictured) are part of a farming community in in Sheridan County, Kansas, an agricultural hub in western Kansas, who have agreed to cut back on water use for crop irrigation so that their children and future generations can continue to farm and sustain themselves on the High Plains.
    KANWATER_37.JPG
  • An overcast day gives hope of much needed rain for farmers in Selden, Kan. on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. As historically dry conditions continue, farmers from South Dakota to the Texas panhandle rely on the Ogallala Aquifer, the largest underground aquifer in the United States, to irrigate crops. After decades of use, the falling water level ? accelerated by historic drought conditions over the last two years ? is putting pressure on farmers to ease usage or risk becoming the last generation to grow crops on the land. Farmers like Mitchell Baalman and Brett Oelke (both not pictured) are part of a farming community in in Sheridan County, Kansas, an agricultural hub in western Kansas, who have agreed to cut back on water use for crop irrigation so that their children and future generations can continue to farm and sustain themselves on the High Plains.
    KANWATER_38.JPG
  • An overcast day gives hope of much needed rain for farmers outside of Hoxie, Kan., on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. As historically dry conditions continue, farmers from South Dakota to the Texas panhandle rely on the Ogallala Aquifer, the largest underground aquifer in the United States, to irrigate crops. After decades of use, the falling water level ? accelerated by historic drought conditions over the last two years ? is putting pressure on farmers to ease usage or risk becoming the last generation to grow crops on the land. Farmers like Mitchell Baalman and Brett Oelke (both not pictured) are part of a farming community in in Sheridan County, Kansas, an agricultural hub in western Kansas, who have agreed to cut back on water use for crop irrigation so that their children and future generations can continue to farm and sustain themselves on the High Plains.
    KANWATER_39.JPG
  • Brett Oelke, right, and his farm hand, Ethan Walters, work on the Oelke family farm outside of Hoxie, Kan., on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. As historically dry conditions continue, farmers from South Dakota to the Texas panhandle rely on the Ogallala Aquifer, the largest underground aquifer in the United States, to irrigate crops. After decades of use, the falling water level ? accelerated by historic drought conditions over the last two years ? is putting pressure on farmers to ease usage or risk becoming the last generation to grow crops on the land. Farmers like Mitchell Baalman (not pictured) and Brett Oelke are part of a farming community in in Sheridan County, Kansas, an agricultural hub in western Kansas, who have agreed to cut back on water use for crop irrigation so that their children and future generations can continue to farm and sustain themselves on the High Plains.
    KANWATER_41.JPG
  • Ethan Walters, a farm hand working for Brett Oelke (not pictured) operates a tractor on the Oelke family farm outside of Hoxie, Kan., on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. As historically dry conditions continue, farmers from South Dakota to the Texas panhandle rely on the Ogallala Aquifer, the largest underground aquifer in the United States, to irrigate crops. After decades of use, the falling water level ? accelerated by historic drought conditions over the last two years ? is putting pressure on farmers to ease usage or risk becoming the last generation to grow crops on the land. Farmers like Mitchell Baalman and Brett Oelke (both not pictured) are part of a farming community in in Sheridan County, Kansas, an agricultural hub in western Kansas, who have agreed to cut back on water use for crop irrigation so that their children and future generations can continue to farm and sustain themselves on the High Plains.
    KANWATER_42.JPG
  • An overcast day gives hope of much needed rain for farmers outside of Hoxie, Kan., on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. As historically dry conditions continue, farmers from South Dakota to the Texas panhandle rely on the Ogallala Aquifer, the largest underground aquifer in the United States, to irrigate crops. After decades of use, the falling water level ? accelerated by historic drought conditions over the last two years ? is putting pressure on farmers to ease usage or risk becoming the last generation to grow crops on the land. Farmers like Mitchell Baalman and Brett Oelke (both not pictured) are part of a farming community in in Sheridan County, Kansas, an agricultural hub in western Kansas, who have agreed to cut back on water use for crop irrigation so that their children and future generations can continue to farm and sustain themselves on the High Plains.
    KANWATER_40.JPG
  • A sign welcomes drivers to Hoxie, Kan., a rural farming community in western Kansas, on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. As historically dry conditions continue, farmers from South Dakota to the Texas panhandle rely on the Ogallala Aquifer, the largest underground aquifer in the United States, to irrigate crops. After decades of use, the falling water level ? accelerated by historic drought conditions over the last two years ? is putting pressure on farmers to ease usage or risk becoming the last generation to grow crops on the land. Farmers like Mitchell Baalman and Brett Oelke (both not pictured) are part of a farming community in in Sheridan County, Kansas, an agricultural hub in western Kansas, who have agreed to cut back on water use for crop irrigation so that their children and future generations can continue to farm and sustain themselves on the High Plains.
    KANWATER_45.JPG
  • Workers store the corn harvest on the Oelke family farm outside of Hoxie, Kan., on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. As historically dry conditions continue, farmers from South Dakota to the Texas panhandle rely on the Ogallala Aquifer, the largest underground aquifer in the United States, to irrigate crops. After decades of use, the falling water level ? accelerated by historic drought conditions over the last two years ? is putting pressure on farmers to ease usage or risk becoming the last generation to grow crops on the land. Farmers like Mitchell Baalman and Brett Oelke (both not pictured) are part of a farming community in in Sheridan County, Kansas, an agricultural hub in western Kansas, who have agreed to cut back on water use for crop irrigation so that their children and future generations can continue to farm and sustain themselves on the High Plains.
    KANWATER_44.JPG
  • An abandoned church, seen through a corn field, sits across the road from the Oelke family farm outside of Hoxie, Kan., on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. As historically dry conditions continue, farmers from South Dakota to the Texas panhandle rely on the Ogallala Aquifer, the largest underground aquifer in the United States, to irrigate crops. After decades of use, the falling water level ? accelerated by historic drought conditions over the last two years ? is putting pressure on farmers to ease usage or risk becoming the last generation to grow crops on the land. Farmers like Mitchell Baalman and Brett Oelke (both not pictured) are part of a farming community in in Sheridan County, Kansas, an agricultural hub in western Kansas, who have agreed to cut back on water use for crop irrigation so that their children and future generations can continue to farm and sustain themselves on the High Plains.
    KANWATER_43.JPG
  • From left, Miles Baalman, 8, Aidan Baalman, 10, and Tucker Baalman, 7, all sons of Mitchell Baalman (not pictured) play on farm equipment on their family's 12,000-acre farm outside of Hoxie, Kan. on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. As historically dry conditions continue, farmers from South Dakota to the Texas panhandle rely on the Ogallala Aquifer, the largest underground aquifer in the United States, to irrigate crops. After decades of use, the falling water level ? accelerated by historic drought conditions over the last two years ? is putting pressure on farmers to ease usage or risk becoming the last generation to grow crops on the land. Farmers like Mitchell Baalman and Brett Oelke (both not pictured) are part of a farming community in in Sheridan County, Kansas, an agricultural hub in western Kansas, who have agreed to cut back on water use for crop irrigation so that their children and future generations can continue to farm and sustain themselves on the High Plains.
    KANWATER_47.JPG
  • An overcast day gives hope of much needed rain for farmers and residents of Hoxie, Kan., on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. As historically dry conditions continue, farmers from South Dakota to the Texas panhandle rely on the Ogallala Aquifer, the largest underground aquifer in the United States, to irrigate crops. After decades of use, the falling water level ? accelerated by historic drought conditions over the last two years ? is putting pressure on farmers to ease usage or risk becoming the last generation to grow crops on the land. Farmers like Mitchell Baalman and Brett Oelke (both not pictured) are part of a farming community in in Sheridan County, Kansas, an agricultural hub in western Kansas, who have agreed to cut back on water use for crop irrigation so that their children and future generations can continue to farm and sustain themselves on the High Plains.
    KANWATER_46.JPG
  • Aidan Baalman, left, 10, drives a tractor under the supervision of his aunt, Keyna Baalman, on the family's 12,000-acre farm outside of Hoxie, Kan. on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. As historically dry conditions continue, farmers from South Dakota to the Texas panhandle rely on the Ogallala Aquifer, the largest underground aquifer in the United States, to irrigate crops. After decades of use, the falling water level ? accelerated by historic drought conditions over the last two years ? is putting pressure on farmers to ease usage or risk becoming the last generation to grow crops on the land. Farmers like Mitchell Baalman and Brett Oelke (both not pictured) are part of a farming community in in Sheridan County, Kansas, an agricultural hub in western Kansas, who have agreed to cut back on water use for crop irrigation so that their children and future generations can continue to farm and sustain themselves on the High Plains.
    KANWATER_48.JPG
  • Miles Baalman, 8, prepares to drive a tractor for the first time under the supervision of his aunt, Keyna Baalman (not pictured) on the family's 12,000-acre farm outside of Hoxie, Kan. on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. As historically dry conditions continue, farmers from South Dakota to the Texas panhandle rely on the Ogallala Aquifer, the largest underground aquifer in the United States, to irrigate crops. After decades of use, the falling water level ? accelerated by historic drought conditions over the last two years ? is putting pressure on farmers to ease usage or risk becoming the last generation to grow crops on the land. Farmers like Mitchell Baalman and Brett Oelke (both not pictured) are part of a farming community in in Sheridan County, Kansas, an agricultural hub in western Kansas, who have agreed to cut back on water use for crop irrigation so that their children and future generations can continue to farm and sustain themselves on the High Plains.
    KANWATER_49.JPG
  • Mitchell Baalman, left, walks with two of his three sons,  Tucker, center, 7, and Aidan, right, 10, to the high school football game in Hoxie, Kan. on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. As historically dry conditions continue, farmers from South Dakota to the Texas panhandle rely on the Ogallala Aquifer, the largest underground aquifer in the United States, to irrigate crops. After decades of use, the falling water level ? accelerated by historic drought conditions over the last two years ? is putting pressure on farmers to ease usage or risk becoming the last generation to grow crops on the land. Farmers like Mitchell Baalman and Brett Oelke (not pictured) are part of a farming community in in Sheridan County, Kansas, an agricultural hub in western Kansas, who have agreed to cut back on water use for crop irrigation so that their children and future generations can continue to farm and sustain themselves on the High Plains.
    KANWATER_50.JPG


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