Beef Empire Days ranch riding competition in Garden City, Ks., which is at the heart of the American breadbasket where farmers grow corn, wheat and sorghum and raise cattle. Over the last sixty years, two technologies have transformed production from rain fed-oriented agriculture to high-intensity irrigated agriculture, a change that transformed the local economy. Instead of relying on rain, Garden City farmers now use low-cost groundwater pumps and a technique called "center-pivot irrigation" to essentially mine for water locked deep underground. Garden City's current bounty is possible because beneath these farmer's fields is a vast reservoir of water, called the Ogallala Aquifer. This vast stretch of groundwater touches eight states, from South Dakota and Wyoming to New Mexico and Texas and so, because the semi-arid climate of the High Plains doesn't receive enough rainfall to support intensive agriculture, farmers pump this trapped water above ground to irrigate their fields.