Tracy Streeter and Water Technology Farms

(Tracy) I’m Tracy Streeter; I’m Director of the Kansas Water Office, South Topeka. We’re here at the T&O Farms Water Technology Farm Field Day, south of Garden City. This is the first Water Technology Farm to come out of the governor’s water vision that really tried to take the latest in technology on irrigation and irrigation management and take it from a test plot scale to a full-size farming operation. We heard during the vision process, when we were having meetings with the irrigators and stakeholders out here, that the technology is fine, the results look promising but I really don’t know how it’s going to work on my farm. So we adopted an action item in the plan that would actually promote this type of concept and boy, the first one has just really exceeded our expectations. Not only are we in the Sand Hills south of Garden City which is a critical area but Tom has given us full access to his whole farm, not just one center pivot, we’ve got eight of them, actually 10, involved in the three year project and so the turnout has been fantastic today. I think we’re approaching 200 folks here that are hearing technical presentations from Teeter Irrigation, Seaman Crop Consulting, Kansas State University, hearing from Tom Willis himself who owns a farm about the technology and what the objectives are out here. Tom has also adopted a water conservation area which is a really new concept. It came out of state government, out of the Department of Agriculture where individual groups of irrigators, even one irrigator like Tom, can put his farm in a water conservation area and agree to reduce pumping, in return get some flexibility. So that’s a really nice concept that we have out here with the technology. We also have an innovative way of reducing water use out here. So that’s what we’re trying to accomplish out here today, it’s just to educate folks on what’s going on. Our original plan was to try to have a Water Technology Farm in each of our planning regions, which we have the Cimarron, the Upper Ark, the Upper Smoky Hill, the Upper Republican along the Ogallala and then the Great Bend Prairie to the east and the Equus beds part of the aquifer in the Wichita area. So we really ideally wanted one Technology Farm in each of our regions and then grow from there. We already have two in Finney County, one here at the Willis Farm and then the Dwane Roth Farm with Garden City Company north of town, and then we have one in Larned on ILS property sponsored by WaterPACK. So we have three right now but it’s really just been word of mouth and others have had irrigators and producers come up saying, “Hey, I’ll be interested in being a Water Technology Farm “, so we’re currently recruiting for the 2017 growing season, trying to get those in the regions that don’t have one right now. They can go to their Ground Water Management District, they can call the Kansas Water Office, they can call Kansas Department of Agriculture and even anybody like the GMD board members, if they want to reach out to them, and anybody they know that’s involved in a local or state government, just let him know you want to be a Technology Farm and eventually they’ll get to us and we’ll go from there.

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