Julene Bair
The Ogallala Road


A Viking/Penguin Book

by Julene Bair

…a book by a tough, restless, energetic, admirable, principled Kansan who also happens to be a fine writer. Her voice is a welcome one. –Mark Bittman, New York Times
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Julene Bair has inherited part of a large farm and fallen in love with a rancher from Kansas’s beautiful Smoky Valley. A single mother, she means to provide her son with the father he longs for and preserve the Bair farm for the next generation, honoring her own father’s wish and commandment, “Hang on to your land!” But part of her legacy is a share of the ecological harm the Bair Farm has done: each growing season her family—like many other irrigators—pumps over two hundred million gallons out of the Ogallala aquifer. The rapidly disappearing aquifer is the sole source of water on the vast western plains, and her family’s role in its depletion haunts her.