In this issue of Irrigation Leader magazine, we feature Ed Mitchell of Benton Irrigation District (BID), which proves that you don’t need to be a huge district to make huge advances. Between 2009 and 2014, BID changed over completely from open ditches to a state-of-the-art, fully pressurized system. The water savings are so great that BID is using little more than half its allotment.

This issue also follows a group of 25 New Zealanders as they tour Nebraska to learn more about American irrigation methods, groundwater management, and regulatory enforcement. Organized by Andrew Curtis of IrrigationNZ, the tour began with the group’s arrival in Denver on Saturday, September 8, and concluded with the attendance of a Nebraska Husker game in Lincoln, Nebraska, on the following Saturday. In between, the New Zealanders learned about chemigation in Yuma, Colorado; had dinner at the historic 2S Ranch owned by John and Julia Maddux outside of Imperial, Nebraska; visited the local natural resources districts and the Valley Irrigation factory in McCook; and attended Husker Harvest Days in Grand Island. All who encountered the New Zealanders found them to be exceptionally polite and direct in their views and questions. They are wonderful people who get down to business quickly. We hope you enjoy reading about the New Zealanders’ experiences and views about what they learned and observed.

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