Rocky Ford: The Farm/Ranch/Water symposium drew a diverse crowd

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From the La Junta Tribune-Democrat (Bette McFarren):

Of special interest to Lower Arkansas Valley fruit and vegetable producers was the presentation by Tracy Vanderpool, the section chief of fruit and vegetable inspection for the Colorado Department of Agriculture. The incidence of food contamination is not actually higher, said Vanderpool, but is more noticeable because of the ease of communication through not only conventional media but also social networking. Also, as the percentage of the population in the elderly range increases, weaker immune systems react more drastically.

“Many producers do not schedule audits in a timely manner, and it is a pleasure to talk with people who do,” said Vanderpool. The valley farmers have a good history of safe produce and safe growing practices. “You’re already doing it [using safe growing methods]; you will only have to document what you are already doing.”[…]

Heath Kuntz reported on progress of the pilot project for the Super Ditch, which is currently under way on the Catlin Canal. The Super Ditch is a process by which a measured amount of water is sold to a municipality, but the farmer retains his water rights and fallows only a quarter of his land at time, returning that land to production on a rotational basis. Kuntz was a leader in developing the engineering plan known as Rule 10, which not only helps producers who have adopted more efficient irrigating practices such as sprinklers be in compliance with state law, but also enables the Super Ditch to measure the water for the project. Many of the concepts for the successful operation of the Super Ditch concept are now in a physical trial mode.

More Arkansas River basin coverage here.

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