Papers of Roy C. and Ardyce L. Johnson
Scope and Contents
The Papers of Roy C. and Ardyce L. Johnson consists of documents dated 1960 to 2015, with the bulk falling from 1974 to 1986. The collection documents the struggles to keep the irrigated farm afloat, including financing with the Federal Land Bank and legal issues related to the use of groundwater wells drawing from the South Platte alluvial aquifer. Additionally, the collection covers irrigation systems, the 1980s Farmers' Crisis, and information on the proposed Narrows Dam, which would have flooded the Johnsons' property. Materials include financial reports, legal documents, letters, maps, grey literature, and clippings.
- Creation: 1960-2015
- Creation: Majority of material found in 1974-1986
- Johnson, Ardyce L. (Person)
Restrictions on Access
There are no access restrictions on this collection. However, it is stored off-site, so advance notice is required.
Restrictions on Use
Not all of the material in the collection is in the public domain. Researchers are responsible for addressing copyright issues.
Roy C. (1926-1996) and Ardyce L. Johnson (b. 1929) owned and operated a family farm in Morgan County near Wiggins, Colorado, between 1960 and 1986. The couple married in 1953 after Ardyce moved out west to follow her nursing dreams and met Roy. They welcomed their first child, a daughter named Debra, in 1954, and a son, Craig, in 1957. In 1960, the family purchased a plot of land where they dreamed of building their home and business. The family quickly got to work and by 1962 had built enough of a stable home and steady income to welcome their third and last child, a son named Douglas.
The Johnsons bought an initial plot of land that they extended by buying two of the neighboring plots. This expansion helped their farm operate in a much fuller and more versatile capacity. Crops that were vital to their operation included sugar beets, corn, and alfalfa.
The family eventually decided to irrigate with groundwater from the South Platte alluvial aquifer. The installation of groundwater wells and an irrigation system helped to increase the quality of their produce and their return on investment. During the drilling and installation of the wells between 1975 and 1983, there were legal complications related to the use of groundwater. The Johnsons participated in both the Central Colorado Water Conservancy District and GASP (Groundwater Appropriators of the South Platte).
The death of son Craig in a farm incident in 1982 marked the start of a period of hardship for the Johnson family. The 1980s Farmers' Crisis, which greatly impacted farmers in the Midwest, had its effect on farm operations. The interest rates on their loans skyrocketed, and they were forced to auction off some of their machinery. Additionally, the weather became much more adverse which led to the deterioration of both the quality of and demand for their crops.
To avoid bankruptcy, the Johnson family farm entered a partnership with T Lazy T Land Cattle Co. This business move sustained their livelihoods for a short time as Ardyce had also returned to nursing to help keep their business afloat. However, in 1986 they sold their home and farm. The family moved into the town of Fort Morgan, Colorado. Roy developed lung cancer and passed away in 1996.
1 linear foot (2 document boxes)
Language of Materials
Roy and Ardyce Johnson owned and operated a family farm near Wiggins, Colorado, between 1960 and 1986. The collection documents the struggles to keep the irrigated farm afloat, including financing with the Federal Land Bank and legal issues related to the use of groundwater. Additionally, the collection covers irrigation systems, the 1980s Farmers' Crisis, and the proposed Narrows Dam. Materials include financial reports, legal documents, letters, maps, and clippings.
The collection had discernible order upon arrival and required only slight re-arrangement. The materials regarding the Narrows Dam are found at the end. The collection consists of 1 series in 2 boxes:
Series 1: Papers, 1960-2015
The Papers of Roy C. and Ardyce L. Johnson was donated to the Water Resources Archive in 2015 by Ardyce Johnson.
Processing was completed in February 2022. Metal paperclips and binder clips were removed and replaced with plastic clips as necessary; rubber bands were removed. Sticker permits with adhesive were placed in mylar. The collection was refoldered in acid-free folders. Original folders with notable comments and/or titles were photocopied and those copies were placed at the front of new folders.
Title information supplied by the archivist is bracketed. Estimated pagination is preceded by an "e."
- Guide to the Papers of Roy C. and Ardyce L. Johnson
- Prepared by Terrie Farley
- Copyright 2022
- Language of description
- Script of description
Part of the CSU Libraries Archives & Special Collections Repository
Fort Collins Colorado 80523-1019 USA