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Colorado Master Irrigator is an intensive, 4-day, 32-hour educational course for Republican River Basin irrigators.
The Colorado Master Irrigator program is focused on offering advanced training in conservation-oriented, irrigation management practices for farmers and farm managers. Area producers from the Republican River Basin have led the curriculum development of this program.
Topic experts including University Extension specialists will serve as instructors for this course. The in-depth and interactive class format will encourage peer-to-peer exchange among participants and instructors.
The goal of Colorado Master Irrigator is for producers to graduate from program equipped with examples and insights on how they might potentially increase or maintain profitability by implementing different tools and strategies on their operations to improve:
– water use efficiency
– energy-use efficiency
– water conservation
– soil health
From Colorado Master Irrigator (Brandi Baquera) via The Julesberg Advocate:
How to improve agricultural water management to increase water and energy use efficiency, water conservation, and overall farm profitability is the focus of a new, annual four-day educational program called “Colorado Master Irrigator” that will be available to Republican River Basin irrigators next year.
The Colorado Master Irrigator program curriculum will be taught by topic experts from Colorado and from other Ogallala states. The program’s interactive course format will encourage peer-to-peer exchange among farmers, including with some farmer instructors who will share insights they’ve gained through taking steps to increase water and energy-use efficiency and conservation on their operations. The main goal of the Colorado Master Irrigator program is to serve today’s farmers while benefitting the Ogallala aquifer resource that is so important for irrigators and the region’s communities.
A ~35-member advisory committee has met monthly throughout 2019 to design and prepare the program for launch in early 2020. The advisory committee is made up of producers from across the Republican River Basin along with agricultural consultants, local landowners, Colorado State University Extension, state and federal agency staff, and others.
The Colorado Master Irrigator program will cover practical and economic aspects related to the adoption of a wide range of agricultural water management tools, technologies, and strategies. “Colorado Master Irrigator is about helping us farmers figure out how we can get the perfect amount of water on our crops,” said Brian Lengel, a Burlington-area producer who serves on the program’s advisory committee.
On September 18, 2019, Colorado Master Irrigator was awarded a Water Reserve Supply Fund (WSRF) grant that will help support the program’s continued development over the next three years. Several local grants, along with funds awarded by CSU’s Water Center, served as matching funds required in applying for this state-level funding.
“Significant amounts of time and creativity, contributed by area farmers in particular, has been crucial in terms of developing the Colorado Master Irrigator program and attracting the support necessary to successfully establish this program,” said Brandi Baquera, Colorado Master Irrigator’s program coordinator.
The four-day course, which will cost $100, will take place in Wray over four consecutive weeks: February 12, February 17, February 26, and March 4, 2020. To graduate, participants must complete all 32 course hours, engage with classmates and instructors, and consider committing to using certain agricultural water management strategies and tools covered by the program.
For more information, visit http://www.comasterirrigator.org. Colorado Master Irrigator is also on Twitter (@COIrrigator) and Facebook (@comasterirrigator).