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In 1980, cash receipts from marketing livestock and their products and crops in
the 17 Western States accounted for approximately $59.3 billion, or about 43
percent of the income derived from farming in the United States (OTA, 1983).
In particular, the United States is dependent on the West to provide certain
crops, including 85% of the national demand for wheat, barley, and sorghum
(OTA, 1983). If farmers in western states continue to sell their water rights
and take cropland out of production, the United States will be losing an
important segment of food supply. The country will increasingly be reliant upon
imported foodstuffs to meet its demand.