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  • Out here on the farm we feel like we're almost off the grid. Of course, we are very much on the grid in terms of technology, but we heat our houses with propane and we get our water from a well.

    We are very proud of our water. The water table is very high, so the property is dotted with ponds. The ponds are used to irrigate the tree nursery, for swimming and ice skating.

    For well over a decade, we have leased 17 acres to a local dairy farmer. He grows corn for his large herd of cows.

    Last year, we decided to take it out of ag production and put it into CRP. No more Round-up spraying on a large scale so near the house. CRP basically means we will receive a small annual payment if we put the land into prairie instead of leasing it for crops. And we're all about prairie. Our idea is that in 10 years when the CRP is over we can harvest and sell the prairie seed or to grow prairie plants for sale.

    Last week at the local pump store buying filters, we asked the usual question: How's business?"

    "This is a slow time of year," he said. "But we do have one big project, out near your place."

    "What is that?"

    "This dairy farmer is having a large irrigation system installed in the field next to your property."

    It turns out that our dairy farmer, faced with ever diminishing plots of land on which to grow corn and dissatisfied with his yields, has signed a ten-year lease with the neighboring farm to rent a large plot of land. He's investing in an irrigation system-- because there's such a nice, large aquifer under this land.

    Hey, that's our aquifer. That's our water.

    The feeling passed quickly. Surely there's enough water for everyone, right? But there we were, our self-sufficiency feeling threatened. The neighbors closing in. And we could see immediately, with that little emotional twinge, how fights begin.
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