Friday, August 26, 2016
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From Crops to Houses



An additional 2.5 million people are expected to move to Colorado by 2040, with the vast majority of them headed for the Front Range. As part of Connecting the Drops, Maeve Conran looks at the impact on Colorado, farmers and agricultural lands, as the state's landscape changes from crops to houses. 

 Development in Meadweb

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Kent Pepplerweb 
 Kent Peppler is a fourth generation farmer near Mead in southern Weld County Colorado. He has seen farmer after farmer sell agricultural land and water. "Money rules and some of this water is awfully valuable," Peppler says. 
 Development in Meadweb
 A housing development in Mead. Weld County is the epicenter of urban growth and changing land use in Colorado. Its population grew by 40 percent since 2000 and is projected to double in the next 25 years. At the same time, 75 percent of its 2.5 million acres is devoted to agriculture and it is Colorado's leading producer of sugar beet, grain, and beef cattle. 
 Kent Peppler remembers Mead in his youth as a sleepy town of 200-300. Now the population is more than 3,500. 
Peppler Farmweb
Kent Peppler has seen the landscape around his farm change as more and more housing developments appear on former farm land. "I really didn't think it would be my generation that has to deal with development. We all knew it was coming, but I didn't think it would be in my lifetime and here we are in the middle of it," Peppler says. 
Peppler Fieldsweb 
Kent Peppler grows winter wheat and Coors barley at his farm outside of Mead in Weld County.
MaryLou Smithweb
MaryLou Smith at the Colorado Water Institute at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. They have been working to get land planners and water managers talking together.

Connecting the Drops Partners

Connecting the Drops is a radio collaboration between the Colorado Foundation for Water Education and Colorado Community Radio Stations KGNU, KDNK and KRCC.

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 Support for 2016 programming comes from CoBank