Agriculture

March 13, 2016--Western Slope interests not sold on latest flex bill (Pueblo Chieftain)

A bill that would allow half of a farmer’s water to be transferred for one year to other uses passed the House agriculture committee 8-5 Monday. The bill, HB1228, was opposed by Western Slope water districts and legislators as unnecessary, expensive to farmers or ranchers and potentially harmful by allowing water that could be used within the state to flow out. Former state Sen.


February 18, 2016--Young farmers in La Plata County face expensive, dry future (Durango Herald)

For a farmer in La Plata County, the future looks parched and costly. Working the land has never been easy or necessarily profitable, but a recent study illustrates how water scarcity and land prices make farming in Southwest Colorado unattractive to the next generation. National Young Farmers Coalition, a network promoting sustainable farming and ranching practices with two Co


February 3, 2016--PRID shareholders hear about State Water Plan (Pine River Times)

The final Colorado Water Plan released in November 2015 is "a significant improvement" over the first draft released in December 2014, water engineer Steve Harris told Pine River Irrigation District shareholders at the Jan.


Colorado’s Buy-and-Grow vs. Buy-and-Dry Program

Agricultural buy-and-dry occurs when someone purchases land and moves the water into the municipal system. There are mounting fears, however, that permanent dry-up of agricultural lands could potentially cripple the farming industry in Colorado. Alternatively, a buy-and-grow plan would allow farmers to share their water rights with municipalities--essentially a sharing of water rights between rural and urban communities. According to a recent Durango Herald article, with the buy-and-grow plan governments and private interests could help farmers with investments in water-conservation technology and other equipment, thereby helping farmers grow. The farmers would then share the water that they don’t need anymore because of the savings. In the article, Kelly Brough said that “They’re still growing, still producing, they’re more efficient, and they don’t lose their water right.” Brough is the Chief Executive of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce (DMCC). At an early October meeting in Denver with state and local water officials, hosted by the DMCC, Brough indicated that the buy-and-grow plan could usher in a new wave of water policy. To view the full article visit the Durango Herald


High Desert Conservation District, by Susan Thornton, Special Districts Association

In an effort to avoid confusion, the Dolores Conservation District recently changed their name to the High Desert Conservation District (HDCD). Among the services that the newly named HDCD provides is information about cover crops, erosion and salinity control, flood damage, irrigation management, noxious weeds, and practical management of crops and pastures. The District also publishes a resource handbook, Rural Living in Southwest Colorado. In addition, the District has hired an agricultural consultant to provide free on-site consultations with ranchers and farmers to help them establish best practices, which aids with more efficient water use. The free consultations are paid in part by a matching grant from the Southwestern Water Conservation District.


December 27, 2015--Water cuts could create economic 'tsunami' for Colorado Basin (Arizona Daily Star)

To understand how a future Colorado River water cutback could hurt the economy, start with this fact: The seven river basin states, by themselves, make up the fifth largest economy in the world, a speaker said at a recent water conference. Then, consider that the economic output of the areas within those — including Arizona — that depend on the river for water equals that of Au


December 13, 2015--Ogallala aquifer initiative gets $8M more (Water Wired)

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced USDA will invest about $8 million in the Ogallala Aquifer Initiative in Fiscal Year 2016 to help farmers and ranchers conserve billions of gallons of water annually while strengthening agricultural operations.


December 7, 2015--Report: Climate change will affect Colorado's food supply (USDA)

A new report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture warns that climate change could affect food supply in Colorado and worldwide. The report says risk extends beyond farms and ranches. It predicts that production across most of the U.S. should be able to handle the initial shocks of climate change without major losses.


December 1, 2015--Climate change, water scarcity, and adaptation in the U.S. fieldcrop sector (USDA)

Despite increased temperatures and much regional variation in production response, U.S. irrigated fieldcrop acreage and water used for irrigation are projected to decline with long-term climate change.


November 20, 2015--Colorado Water Plan's impact on Western Slope (Western Slope Now)

State leaders celebrated the completion of Colorado's first ever water plan, a comprehensive approach to solving the state's future water supply gap. State projections indicated by the year 2050, Colorado would have a supply gap of about 560,000 acre-feet of water.  That is equivalent to about 180 billion gallons of water per year. Hannah Holm, the coordinator of the Hutc


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