Chris Udall, executive director of the AgriBusiness Counsel of Arizona, does a great job, and I highly recommend attending his organization’s one-day Annual Business Meeting. It always has a strong agenda, and this year’s May 17 meeting was no exception. One of Chris’s speakers, Mr. Jim McCauley, a benefits consultant for Wells Fargo Insurance, gave a presentation titled “Healthcare Concerns—The Effects of Obamacare.” Mr. McCauley held the rapt attention of every irrigation district manager in the room. It was clear to everyone present that the coming changes to our healthcare system are a major concern for irrigation districts.

Following up on the Operations and Management Workshop that Irrigation Leader magazine sponsored in January, we have scheduled a summer workshop, “Grant Preparation, Finance, Insurance, and Contracts Workshop,” to be held on July 11–12, 2013, at the Embassy Suites Hotel–Denver International Airport. Perhaps a more accurate title would be “Funding and the Fear of the Unknown.” The purpose of the workshop is to provide an opportunity for irrigation district managers and staff members to perfect grant-writing skills before fall application deadlines and learn about other finance and funding options. Attendees will also learn about the compliance requirements for the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) pertaining to irrigation districts. Wells Fargo Insurance representatives will present a two-hour segment on the new requirements and answer questions. (If you are unsure how the new law will affect your district, this workshop will provide you with answers.) Additionally, attendees will learn about various contract options that may reduce risk and save money while completing project improvements.

As with our first workshop, irrigation district managers suggested topics of the summer workshop. We selected the Denver airport for ease of travel and for its central location. Managers recommended the day-and-a-half format to limit time away from their districts. Please see the workshop registration form and tentative schedule on the inside back cover of this issue. Should you wish to receive additional information about the workshop as well as agenda updates, please contact me at We hope to see you in Colorado.

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