Introducing the New Zealand Edition

By Kris Polly

New Zealand’s productive irrigated agriculture is a key part of its national economy and helps make it a top global dairy exporter. Anyone who has visited New Zealand’s irrigated farms also knows that New Zealand farmers are innovative and are always looking for cost-effective ways to improve their operations. I am pleased to be launching a new online New Zealand edition of Irrigation Leader to help strengthen the connections— personal, commercial, and technological—between U.S. and New Zealand irrigated ag. Elizabeth Soal, the former chief executive of Irrigation New Zealand, will be serving as a contributing editor, helping us to identify the most essential stories and technologies to highlight. 

Our inaugural cover interview is with Gary Kelliher, a member of the Otago Regional Council who is also a farmer and has served in leadership roles in a local irrigation scheme and a catchment-wide strategy group. Mr. Kelliher tells us about his efforts to help resolve the persistent disagreements in the Otago region about how to manage water in the Manuherikia River catchment. 

We also bring you several stories that highlight the excellent work that is being done in California’s Imperial Valley, one of the United States’ leading producers of winter produce. We speak with Henry Martinez, the general manager of the Imperial Irrigation District (IID); IID zanjero Jeff Dollente; and Public Information Officer Robert Schettler. 

Next, we speak with Peter Moller, Rubicon Water’s U.S. business development manager, about the company’s U.S. launch of its FarmConnect on-farm irrigation solution and with two U.S. farmers who are already using it. 

McCrometer’s McMag2000 is an affordable, easy-to-read mag meter that was designed for farmers who would like to replace the popular McPropeller meter at a similar price point. We hear more about this attractive new product in our interview with Aimee Davis and Ken Quandt. 

UPL provides an array of aquatic chemicals to help irrigation districts keep their conveyance structures clean. In our interview with Jeremy Slade, UPL’s U.S. business lead for aquatics, we hear more about the company’s products and customer service. 

A column by Scott Cameron, the former acting assistant secretary for policy, management, and budget at the U.S. Department of the Interior and a former principal with the National Invasive Species Council, lays out a blueprint for a holistic approach to ecological sustainability. 

We also feature interviews with individuals from three companies whose products may be of special interest to New Zealand readers: Paul Meeks of Worthington Products, whose booms helped avoid the overtopping of New Zealand’s Matahina Dam; Erik Tribelhorn of Agri-Inject, which enables the injection of fertilizer and chemicals through center-pivot systems; and Joel Irving and Chris Gargan of International Water Screens. 

The irrigated ag communities in New Zealand and the United States have much to teach each other and many opportunities for each other’s business. I am proud to further that important interchange by launching this New Zealand issue of Irrigation Leader. I look forward to working with Elizabeth Soal, with all our other New Zealand friends, and with the many new friends we are sure to make in years to come. 

Kris Polly is the editor-in-chief of Irrigation Leader magazine and the 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