The group included elected officials, community leaders, and interested citizens who toured different farms and a research center.
The goal was to come together and discuss current water resources for agriculture and what can be done to ensure there’s enough water for the future.
Michael Hirakata, co-owner of Hirakata Farms, said, “It all starts with water. Without water we can’t grow the food.”
That’s the message Hirakata wants everyone in Colorado to hear.
“This year there’s plenty of water. It’s trying to rain right now, but Mother Nature is not always the same and we’re going to need a lot of water to feed the population of Colorado.”
The population of the state only continues to grow.
Kate Greenberg of The National Young Farmers Coalition said, “As water gets tighter, as we have more pressure on our water, it’s really going to take a lot of collaboration and alliances.”
Hirakata and other farmers are already doing that and sharing their practices with tour groups like the one that met on Wednesday.
“We told them about sub-surface irrigation and the way we manage sub-surface irrigation,” said Hirakata.
“We call it drip-tape and we put it in the ground…and the water never sees the light of day so there’s less evaporation.”
It’s a water technique he’s been practicing for many years after being hit by droughts.
“We weren’t going to have much water, also the yields-we were seeing some of our neighbors try it and the yields were a little bit higher than what we were getting so we thought well, we need to adjust our farming practices also.”
Now, he wants other people to start doing the same and to continue to come up with new ways to conserve water.
Greenberg said, “We’re all connected whether we know it or not to farming through food that we eat and the water that we use, and I think folks here today recognize that they play a role in that landscape.”