Standing in the back of the meeting room during the Family Farm Alliance annual conference in Las Vegas in February, I observed two things. The first was that there was record attendance, as nearly every chair was filled. The second was that every irrigation district manager or board member I spoke with had a great idea for the magazine. “We really appreciate your magazine,” they would say, and then follow with, “Have you thought about doing an article on . . . ” After writing many notes on the backs of my own business cards, we have countless article ideas to pursue.

One idea we implemented in this issue of Irrigation Leader came from Frank Hammerich, manager of Oregon’s Langell Valley Irrigation District. Hammerich began our conversation by saying, “Let me tell you about my district . . . ” Our conversation underscored that every irrigation district has a story to tell, and that it is enormously helpful for managers to know about the issues and ideas of other districts across the West.

To that end, we added the “District Focus” section to the magazine. This new section will feature comprehensive articles about individual districts. In this month’s edition, we included an article about Hammerich’s district, as well as one about the Yuma County Water Users’ Association in Arizona, written by its general manager, Tom Davis. Each issue, this section will feature articles about geographically diverse districts. A second conversation during this year’s Texas Water Conservation Association annual conference in Austin, Texas, underscored the value we hope the magazine provides to the western irrigation community. Don Yonts, a representative of HDPE pipe producer Contech Construction Products, Inc., told me he was a late vendor registrant to the meeting.

“I’m based out of Ohio, but I saw this meeting advertised in a magazine that one of our competitors was in and thought I better get to Texas,” he said.

“Which magazine was that?” I asked.

“The magazine stacked over there on the registration table, Irrigation Leader,” he replied. The vision behind Irrigation Leader is to highlight the work of irrigation districts throughout the West and facilitate an exchange of ideas among members of this important industry. Alerting broader audiences to activities and conferences occurring nationwide is central to this mission and, as a result of my conversation with Yonts, the magazine will do more to reach out to national, regional, and state water organizations to advertise their meetings for potential attendees and vendors.

When we launched Irrigation Leader in October 2010, We were not sure how it would be received. However, since our first issue, the comments I have heard in my travels throughout the West have been very positive, and I attribute the magazine’s success to the numerous ideas put forth by readers in my conversations with them. I sincerely appreciate your support of this venture and request that you keep your article and advertising ideas coming

Kris Polly is editor-in-chief of Irrigation Leader magazine and president of Water Strategies LLC, a government relations firm he began in February 2009 for the purpose of representing and guiding water, power, and agricultural entities in their dealings with Congress, the Bureau of Reclamation, and other federal government agencies. He may be contacted at