PRE-REGISTRATION FOR COLORADO MASTER IRRIGATOR 2021 PROGRAM OPENS 

Annual educational program equips farmers with information, contacts, and access to incentives to support advanced water and energy management and conservation 

[BURLINGTON, COLORADO, December 8th, 2020] Producers spend a significant amount of money and time to irrigate each year. For farmers irrigating in the Republican River Basin, determining how to maximize that investment while making the most of limited groundwater resources are both critical to sustain farms and local communities. Coming up in early 2021, area producers interested in expanding their knowledge and thinking about ways to adjust irrigation and field management to optimize water and energy use on their operation will have the opportunity to participate in the second annual Colorado Master Irrigator program.   

The Colorado Master Irrigator course, inspired by a similar program operating in the Texas Panhandle, has been developed and supported by an advisory committee of area producers, ag consultants, CSU-based staff and others, including representatives from Colorado’s NRCS office in Denver. The program comprehensively covers a wide range of water-relevant topics, starting with basics of soil water holding capacity and residue management and diving into short- and long-term practical and economic considerations related to adopting and using many different tools and techniques. Colorado Master Irrigator also shares information on ways to access local, state, and/or federal incentives and cost share available to help pay for updating or upgrading irrigation systems to improve water use efficiency and conservation.  

Building on its successful initial year last year, Colorado Master Irrigator’s curriculum will be taught by a range of topic experts from Colorado and other Ogallala states. The course is designed to be interactive, offering opportunities for producers to share their experiences and expertise with peers and hear from producer instructors who can speak to the “dollars and sense” of various strategies and tools they’ve implemented. Due to the pandemic, the Colorado Master Irrigator planning team is working on developing a hybrid learning experience that will offer some in-person classroom time along with online learning modules, reducing participants’ travel time. 

“We have space for 25 producers farming in the Republican River Basin, available on a first-come first-serve basis,” says Brandi Baquera, Colorado Master Irrigator program coordinator. “It’s been really exciting to hear from some of last year’s graduates how they have benefitted from the information they learned by attending Colorado Master Irrigator last year, and I’m looking forward to learning from and about our next class of participants!”    

Funding support for this locally-led program has come from small grants provided by local Ground Water Management Districts via the Republican River Water Conservation District, the Colorado Water Conservation Board, the Colorado Water Center, and other sponsors. Organizations and businesses interested in supporting Colorado Master Irrigator are encouraged to visit the program’s website, www.comasterirrigator.org/, or contact Brandi Baquera for more information.  

The dates of the 2021 classes are January 19, January 21, January 26, January 28, February 9, February 11, February 16, and February 18. The cost to attend the program is $100.

Follow the Colorado Master Irrigator program on social media (https://www.facebook.com/comasterirrigatorhttps://twitter.com/CoIrrigatorhttps://instagram.com/colorado_master_irrigator) for additional updates and announcements. 

The 2020 graduates of Colorado Master Irrigator are involved with managing more than 20,000 irrigated acres located across the Republican River Basin. Photo credit: Hannah Moshay 
Contact: Brandi Baquera,  Colorado Master Irrigator Program Coordinator 
Phone: (719) 343-0099 
Email: coloradomasterirrigator@gmail.com 

By Brian Allmer - The BARN

Brian Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.