Why Water?

Did you know?

  • From beginning bloom to full seed, soybean plants use 0.20 to 0.30 inches of water per day or 15-25 inches of water per acre per year. 
  • According to the U.S. government, 80-100 gallons of water are used per day per person.
  • The average flow rate of the Mississippi River is 1.6 million gallons of water per second or 138,240,000,000 gallons per day.

It doesn’t take much to recognize the importance of water in our everyday lives and beyond. And as water issues increasingly bubble to the top of local and global discussions, stakeholders are looking at water and agriculture together for answers. 

Take Cimbria Capital, for example. They note, “Water and agriculture are fundamental sectors of the world economy, ripe for investment and innovation…Intelligent allocation of capital into these sectors will yield superior returns for both investors and society at large.”

Noah J. Sabich is a founding member and managing director for the company. In this issue’s Difference Makers column, he notes, “Critical global competition for scarce water and ag resources is emerging. More extreme weather and climate events foreshadow increased frequency in wildfires, longer periods of drought, flooding, hurricanes and shifting ecosystems.”

Cimbria Capital believes water and agriculture are highly undercapitalized, and more than $630 billion is needed over the next decade to fix water and sanitation infrastructure in the U.S. alone. 

The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) is connecting with venture investment groups like Cimbria Capital to explore the challenges agriculture will face on the waterfront the next several years. By leading the conversation around water, ISA plans to be part of the solution. 

So far, that means understanding there are as many facets to the water conversation as there are drops in the ocean. In this Soy Perspectives, we address some of them, including crop production systems that increase water use efficiency, solutions other countries and crop producers have found to manage both water shortage and overabundance, new irrigation technology and more.

We also explore what could happen with regard to water transportation for ag commodities, given that Illinois is well-positioned for river movement of our soybeans. And we take a look at how California — long a state with water challenges — is working to help agriculture and communities co-exist. What lessons can other states learn from their experiences? 

ISA is interested in knowing what water issues are of biggest concern or opportunity to others within the soybean value chain. Send your thoughts to ilsoy@ilsoy.org

Lynn Rohrscheib