Dr. Chris Grotegut is a veterinarian, farmer, and stockman in Hereford, located in Deaf Smith County in the Texas Panhandle. Hereford has a rich agricultural heritage and economy built on the waters of Ogallala Aquifer. But this aquifer has been in perilous decline over the past hundred years as more and more land has been plowed for row cropping and turned into feedlots for thirsty cattle. Aquifer decline is a serious threat to the longevity of many producers in the Texas Panhandle. Chris is taking steps on his land to replenish the aquifer, and he freely shares his lessons learned along the way.
Chris is the cutting edge producer/owner of an 11,000 acre farm named Tierra de Esperanza that produces organic crops and livestock. In recent years he has transitioned the family operation toward more efficient uses of water, labor, and equipment by returning much of his cropland back to native grass pastures. He plants winter crops over dormant grasses in years with favorable moisture, minimizes irrigation, and takes measures to protect his playas, which are the clay basins in his fields and pastures that infiltrate water very slowly to refill the aquifer below.