Irrigation Industry Needs Help

Promoting Efficient Irrigation

By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor

What will affect the irrigation industry in the future? California Ag Today asks Brent Mecham, the industry development director with the Irrigation Association located in Fairfax, Virginia. Promoting effective irrigation is important.

“I work on the things that are going to affect our industry or the future and trying to position ourselves so we can continue to promote efficient irrigation,” Mecham said.

His occupation includes working on codes and standards, new technologies, technical programs, and educational programs. This is becoming popular among policymakers.

Everyone in the world is benefiting from irrigation. Everybody in the world is benefiting from water whether they know it or not.

“It’s something that affects everybody’s life, and they will not notice it until there’s no lettuce for your salad or no tomatoes. So irrigation affects people all around the world,” Mecham said.

There is more demand on water resources in property. Irrigation is very important for a state like California.

“There is more demand on water resources than ever before, and a lot of places where it is very sensitive, like in California, and the water shortages are becoming prevalent,” Mecham explained.

Farmers have been doing their part to be more profitable in their operations. Cities, too, need to do their part to prevent water running down gutters, which is not efficient.

Farmers are Asset Managers

Farmers are Asset Managers

By Brian German, Associate Editor

Richard Casias, principal scientist and managing member at RCC Group, LLC, an environmental management consulting company based in Davis, expressed his deep respect for the Valley’s local farmers’ positive outlook, “What I really appreciate about these individuals is farmers are true asset managers. Their goal is to work efficiently, effectively and bring a good investment off the land they are managing.”

RCC Group’s primary customer base of almond, walnut and pistachio growers approach Casias by introducing their asset, emphasizing ongoing preservation of that asset, and making certain that the inputs are positive, and losses are minimized, like any company. With over 30 years of experience in earth science and environmental management, Casias attributes his expertise to this ongoing learning process.

Casias has traveled nationwide, including Hawaii, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and Texas, promoting environmental management systems and conducting environmental and water resource investigations. “I’ve been advocating for an environmental management system for farming operations. Australia and other countries have been doing it, and it is completely applicable here in Central Valley farming operations.”

Casias continued, “So many of the farming practices that are being done are not getting farmers the positive feedback and validation as good land and water stewards. That is part of my motivation—to make sure growers recognize and take credit for all the extra work that they do to make their farming operations successful.”

When it comes to increasing water regulations on farming, Casias commented, “I try to remind growers that public scrutiny is not solely focused on agriculture as the villain; there are a number of people [and industries] using these natural resources.”