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In-depth: Farmers look to native crop to keep going through drought

Posted at 5:34 PM, Sep 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-07 21:26:41-04

The impacts of drought are evident throughout the American West, and farmers and ranchers are feeling it in Utah.

But the first-ever water shortage declaration on the Colorado River has brought even tougher conditions to farmers in Arizona, where automatic cuts triggered by the declaration go into effect in January.

With that in mind, the Water Desk, an environmental journalism project at the University of Colorado partnering with media around the west, looked at farming in Southern Arizona, where a native plant called Guayule (pronounced WHY-ew-lay) may become a cash crop with potential to provide a sustainable domestic supply of rubber.