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Irrigation water

  • The controversy over the gray wolf appears to be far from over in the West and in western Colorado, solar energy companies are paying farmers to lease their ground for solar energy production, and some insight into the use of water from the Colorado River for irrigating alfalfa.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture is taking an all-hands-on-deck approach to the cross-species outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza that is now infecting cattle as well as poultry, the CSU Montezuma County Extension has announced their 2024 Land Management Workshop series, and a look at how irrigation water is valued in the Midwest versus the West.
  • A group of senators is encouraging consideration of a farm bill that provides support for projects that address drought, the Colorado Master Irrigator Program kicks off on January 18th, cattle markets are starting 2024 in a much better position than they were a year ago, and meteorologists predict that we’ve likely reached the peak of the El Nino weather pattern this winter.
  • Arizona governor Katie Hobbs terminates state groundwater leases for a Saudi Arabian-owned farm, cow-calf producers in Colorado, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Texas will have the opportunity to sign up for a new insurance option, and cattle producers are seeing a tremendous uptrend in prices so far in 2023.
  • Colorado’s Division of Water Resources held a meeting in Cortez on Wednesday to seek input from irrigators on the division’s proposed water measurement rules. The rules would mean that farmers in the San Juan and Dolores River basins must begin using measurement methods in order to better record the storage and releases of their water. The Division of Water Resources meeting comes after the Yampa and White basins went through a similar rule-making process to crack down on water users diverting from streams without proper measuring devices. And Congress is considering eliminating federal funding for public media. A House subcommittee recently approved legislation that would zero out funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
  • The USDA projects U.S. agricultural exports will decline while imports will increase, egg prices could fall dramatically this year if avian influenza stays in check, urban and agricultural interests bring up questions about Colorado River Basin water management, and a new USDA report shows that overall farmland is declining across the country while large farm consolidation is on the rise.
  • The System Conservation Pilot Program was recently rebooted with $125 million in funding from the Inflation Reduction Act to fight shrinking water levels in Lake Powell.
  • Monsoon rains bring much needed, albeit inconsistent, rain to the area, a new report contends that 11 million acres of America’s agricultural land were developed or converted to uses that threaten farming, a breakdown of water use by agriculture, and the 2023 Farm Bureau Farm Dog of the Year Contest is underway.
  • When it comes to water in the West, a lot of it is visible. Snow stacks up high in the mountains then eventually melts and flows down into valleys. It’s easy to see how heavy rains and rushing rivers translate into an abundance of available water. But another important factor of water availability is much harder to see.
  • Montezuma Valley Irrigation Company announced a tentative water shut-off for August 29 — a decision rumored among shareholders and farmhands since the…