Introducing the Montana Edition

By Kris Polly

I am pleased this month to introduce our new Montana edition of Irrigation Leader, and there is no better way to do it than with our cover interview with Governor Greg Gianforte, conducted by Contributing Editor Mike Murphy. Governor Gianforte is a champion for Montana agriculture, and in this fascinating interview, he discusses infrastructure needs, drought, the prospects for new irrigation districts, and more. 

We also learn about several new developments in horticulture. First, we speak with Mathias Levarek, the CEO of Agrotonomy, which manufactures aeroponic tower farms that drizzle plant roots with nutrients and water. Next, we speak with Dr. Trentee Bush, Jill Heemstra, and Richard M. Wright of Northeast Community College about its Horticulture and Golf Course Management program, which includes significant in-field learning opportunities. Then, we talk to John Scholten, a product specialist at LiveRoof, about its green roofs, which absorb and store storm water, provide desirable green spaces, and can even grow vegetables. 

Chris Roth, the president of Reinke Manufacturing, tells us about some of the company’s recent technical advances, from the installation of a laser tower for metalworking to the ReinCoat galvanizing process. 

John Berge, the new executive director of the Farm Service Agency (FSA) for Nebraska, is a Nebraska native and the former general manager of the North Platte Natural Resources District. We speak with him about current trends in Nebraska agriculture and how the FSA can help farmers. 

Rubicon Water, which creates water management solutions based around automated canal gates, is increasing its presence in Latin America. Jorge Ramírez Contreras, Rubicon’s marketing coordinator for Latin America, tells us about how the company is expanding from Chile to Argentina and Costa Rica. 

Shon Rae, the former assistant manager of the Central Oregon Irrigation District, now works in operations at Oregon Spirit Distillers, which uses pure local water and irrigated crops as important inputs. 

Central Washington’s Kennewick Irrigation District is lining its canal system to save water and increase storage. Operations Manager Jason McShane updates us on the project and on ideas for a future reservoir. 

Montana’s agriculture is famous nationwide for a reason, and we are excited to launch this new edition to shine a special light on it every month. 

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