Documentary Will Share Impact of Drought on Ag Production


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By Molly Nance

Drought causes devastating impacts to agriculture and the environment. According to a recent report from the University of California in Davis, California’s current drought is expected to cost the state an estimated $2.2 billion this year, along with a loss of more than seventeen thousand jobs, as farmers are forced to fallow some valuable crops. Total cost projections from drought are difficult to quantify, but the World Economic Forum estimates that drought across the globe costs six to eight billion dollars a year from losses in agriculture and related businesses.

The Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute at the University of Nebraska and award-winning filmmaker Conrad Weaver of ConjoStudios are partnering to produce a documentary, Thirsty Land, on the impact of drought on agriculture production throughout the US and its impact globally.

Both the Water for Food Institute and the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln have provided startup sponsorship funds for the project. The documentary is expected to premiere in Lincoln, Nebraska, in conjunction with the seventh Water for Food Global Conference in late April 2016.

Thirsty Land explores drought and its impact on agriculture, communities, and the global food supply. It will feature expert voices from around the US, including faculty from the University of Nebraska who specialize in drought management and preparedness, groundwater policy, irrigation technology, and other water and agricultural sciences.

“Drought is a critical issue as we look to feed our growing population, expected to reach nearly ten billion by 2050,” said Roberto Lenton, founding executive director of the Water for Food Institute. “We are very pleased to participate in this important documentary about the challenges of drought and climate change. It supports our mission by educating people about the threats, as well as the opportunities, to achieving water and food security for generations to come.”

Weaver is a video producer and is president and owner of ConjoStudios, LLC, a video production company based out of Frederick, Maryland. His most recent project includes the 2014 documentary, Great American Wheat Harvest. His work has been recognized nationally by the Telly Awards.

“I’m thrilled to be able to partner with DWFI,” says Weaver. “The University of Nebraska is well known for being a leader in research in the areas of water, hydrology, and drought mitigation. DWFI has access to world-renown researchers dealing with drought issues, so it’s exciting to be able to talk with them to see and experience what they are doing to help farmers solve some of these complicated issues in providing more food for a growing global population.”

ConjoStudios is currently seeking additional production funds from grants, sponsorships, appropriations, and do­nations from companies, organizations, and individuals who believe in the mission of the project and want to see it completed on time. The company is launching a crowdfunding campaign later this spring. Email updates regarding the crowdfunding campaign are available by signing up at

For more information on Thirsty Land, visit and follow updates on Facebook and Twitter. For interview requests and more information on the making of the film, contact Conrad Weaver at (301) 606-7794 or email conjostudios[at]gmail[dot]com.

The Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute at the University of Nebraska was founded in 2010 to address the global challenge of achieving food security with less stress on water resources through improved water management in agricultural and food systems. We are committed to ensuring a water- and food-secure world while maintaining the use of water for other human and environmental needs. The University of Nebraska has invested in four interdisciplinary, university-wide institutes—including the Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute—that leverage talent and research-based expertise from across the University of Nebraska system to focus on complex state, national, and global challenges. For more information, visit


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