Innovative farming practices being developed by Uncompahgre Valley producers hold the promise of resource conservation and improved water quality.
Some of the work in this local soil health initiative attracted a U.S. senator here last week to meet with forward-looking producers and see an example of the projects that are being installed.
U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and chairman of the subcommittee on conservation, stopped in Olathe as part of a Western Slope swing and got a tour of new irrigation works at John and David Harold's farm.
The Harolds, a father and son who grow sweet corn and other crops, are using a drip irrigation system. Among the system's advantages are less water use and decreased deep percolation of irrigation water. Deep percolation contributes minerals loading to water runoff into downstream water courses and reservoirs.
The minerals loading issue especially has attracted attention from the federal government. Two years ago, Bennet and Sen. Mark Udall supported a successful local bid for a $1.35 million grant funding commitment for on-farm projects to improve soil health and water quality in the Uncompahgre Valley.
That grant program, now available for local producer participation, is being administered by a unique, first ever partnership between Delta County Economic Development and the Montrose Economic Development Corporation.
The grant money will be used to support local, on-farm projects and to create a database of information on water quality improvements and other benefits expected to come from the work.
As one producer told Bennet during his Olathe tour, "Tell your colleagues back in Washington that we are doing something to improve water quality in this valley."blog comments powered by Disqus