The farms are the practical manifestation of the Thaler Act. They are a joint project between the Republic's government and private farmers, where farmers cultivate the land in exchange for money, military protection and sustenance, using water pumped from Lake Mead for irrigation. The entire endeavor is overseen by the Office of Science and Industry, which plans and calculates the resources necessary to sustain the agriculture using computer simulations. A military unit is present on the premises at all times to deter theft of foodstuffs.
By 2281, the farms are producing a good amount of crops of all kinds, including maize and even tobacco, in spite of water rationing and bad soil. There are even plans to increase water flow and number of farms in the next few years in an attempt to get the New Vegas residents to vote for annexation in the NCR. For the time being, the crops continue to support NCR military camps throughout the region, from McCarran to Forlorn Hope.
However, the future of the farms is threatened. The NCR has consistently ignored a recent water shortage at the farms, caused by Westside and Vault 34. With just 80% of their water ration, many farmers are struggling to meet their quotas, and risk losing their jobs or plan to outright quit.
The sharecropper farms are a large, open field surrounded by a fence. Within are large fields of crops and several greenhouses where the more demanding plants are grown. Sharecroppers live in the sharecropper barracks, while the military detail hails from Camp McCarran. The perimeter is constantly patrolled by NCR troops.
While the plants are marked as owned, foraging will not be considered stealing. This is because the game adds plants to the inventory via script, whilst the activated plant is simply removed from the game.
↑The Courier: "Tell me about the farms." Ortega: "It's NCR-owned farmland. It produces a lot of the crops that supply McCarran and the Dam. The farmers are all civilians, though. They work the farms, and in return they get a safe place to stay and clean food and water. Some of 'em aren't all that grateful, though." (Ortega's dialogue)
↑The Courier: "What can you tell me about these fields?" Romanowski: "Impressive, aren't they? You don't see anything like this outside of NCR territory, that's for sure. We get the water - clean water - pumped in from Lake Mead. If you follow the big pipes, they'll take you all the way to the Lake." (Romanowski's dialogue)
↑The Courier: "Trent Bascom says he's not getting his full allotment of water." Romanowski: "The Office of Science and Industry has carefully calculated the amount of water needed for these crops. The whole thing is handled by computer. Besides, most of these crops look fine to me. If the farmers can't handle the job, they shouldn't have signed up in the first place. If there really is a problem, they can take it up with Lieutenant Boyd at McCarran. Farming isn't my department." (Romanowski's dialogue)
↑ 4.04.1The Courier: "Why are these fields being guarded?" Romanowski: "A lot of the crops grown here support the various NCR camps in the region - McCarran, Golf, and Forlorn Hope, to name a few. We can't have wastelanders popping in here for a free meal, so my squad and I are assigned to keep things from going to hell." (Romanowski's dialogue)
↑ 6.06.1The Courier: "What's the Thaler Act?" Trent Bascom: "Something the politicians back in Shady Sands came up with. They pay us to move here and farm the land. They even protect the fields." The Courier: "Why is this work a bum deal?" Trent Bascom: "Bad soil and rationed water. It's to be expected around here, but the rationing's off. Worst part is NCR won't admit it. Pretty hard to meet their crop quotas with twenty percent less water than we're supposed to be getting. Not that OSI cares about any of this." (Trent Bascom's dialogue)
↑The Courier: "Can't you just grow less crops?" Trent Bascom: "I wouldn't be able to meet the quota, and the NCR would kick me out of my job, anyway. Nah, it's better I get out on my own terms." (Trent Bascom's dialogue)