Irrigation Leader
  • Featured,  Interview,  Irrigated Crop

    Growing Pecans in the Desert Southwest

    The climate of the desert Southwest is ideal for growing pecans, and the region produces roughly one-third of all pecans grown in the United States. With global demand for their product rising, New Mexico pecan growers see a bright future. However, there is a hard constraint on pecan production: water. Growing pecans in New Mexico’s arid land requires the efficient and intelligent use of limited irrigation water resources. In this interview, Greg Daviet, the manager of Dixie Ranch farm, speaks with Irrigation Leader Managing Editor Joshua Dill about how pecans are grown and harvested in New Mexico and distributed around the world.

  • Interview,  Irrigated Crop

    The Next Big Crop? Studying Hemp in the Imperial Valley

    I ndustrial hemp is becoming a big business in the United States. Projections show that it has the potential to earn billions of dollars and create thousands of jobs in the next several years. Industrial hemp is a form of cannabis sativa with less than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, making it entirely distinct from its cousin, marijuana. Hemp is used in the production of goods such as rope, lotion, cannabidiol (CBD) oil, sunscreen, clothing, and paper. Research centers across the country are beginning to study the plant to prepare for its promising economic future. The Imperial Valley Conservation Research Center (IVCRC) in Brawley, California, is on the cutting edge…

  • Photo closeup of cherries from above
    Irrigated Crop,  Water Law

    An Update on the Produce Safety Rule

    In November 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finalized the Produce Safety Rule, which includes an Agricultural Water Provision (AWP) requiring that growers identify, inspect, and monitor their irrigation water supplies for indicator E. coli. Compliance for all aspects of the rule was set to begin in January 2018. However, in March 2017 the FDA made an announcement that it was reviewing the AWP after increasing pushback and confusion over some of the finer points of the provision. In the end, it kept the criteria the same but pushed the timeline for compliance out an additional 4 years and continued to emphasize the possibility of refinement as more…

  • Photo closeup of teff plant
    Irrigated Crop

    Teff in Nevada

    One way for farmers to improve soil and reduce the risk of crop loss is to diversify crop rotations. More than a decade ago, a couple of farmers in northern Nevada’s Truckee-Carson Irrigation District—with the help and guidance of their local agricultural extension agent—started growing a staple of the highlands of the Horn of Africa, teff, to provide such diversity. Teff is the world’s smallest grain, but it produces a variety of items, including flour used for injera, a spongy Ethiopian flatbread, and high-quality hay for livestock and horses. Teff is high in protein and fiber and is gluten free. The crop is well suited to Nevada’s high elevations and…

  • Photo closeup of a bundle of carrots
    Irrigated Crop

    Growing Crops in the Coachella Valley

    The Coachella Valley in Southern California is home to farms that grow a wide variety of crops. Fruits, vegetables, citrus, and many others are produced in large numbers. One grower of this bounty is Peter Rabbit Farms, a third- and fourth-generation family farm that produces a plethora of crops, including one of the largest carrot crops in the United States. An evolution in the marketing, processing, and packaging of carrots has dramatically changed how they are grown as well as how consumers buy them. John Powell Jr. is a third-generation member of Peter Rabbit Farms, and he currently manages the farm with his brother. Mr. Powell’s grandparents moved to the…

  • Photo closeup of golden wheat against a blue sky
    Irrigated Crop

    Water Conservation From Barley to Beer

    It takes a lot of water to make a beer. And not just for the actual brewing process. For MillerCoors, over 90 percent of the water used to create a single can of beer, like a Miller High Life or Coors Banquet, is attributed to agricultural production. The company has adopted the goal of reducing its water use by 10 percent by 2025 and is asking its barley and hops growers to partner to help achieve that goal. MillerCoors contracts with 864 independent barley growers across Colorado, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming to produce just the right quality malt barley for its beers. According to Wade Malchow, MillerCoors’ barley program manager,…