Volume 14 Issue 7 July/August AZ

Introducing Dawnie Stewart

By Kris Polly

In this month’s cover story, we have the privilege of introducing you to my good friend Dawnie Stewart, who is the new president of the board of directors of Roosevelt Water Conservation  District (RWCD). Ms. Stewart has deep family roots in Arizona agriculture and, along with her husband Justin, is an active farmer. We speak with her about the challenges of drought and urbanization and her goals in her new position.

As a native of western Nebraska, I can attest that it is no place to grow pineapples in the winter. Yet farmers are doing just that with simple geothermal greenhouses manufactured by Greenhouse in the Snow. We speak with Allen Bright about the ingenious technology, designed by founder Russ Finch, and what can be grown with it. We also speak with Leigh Dodd, the executive vice president of the Greenhouse Company of South Carolina, about the company’s line of Jāderloon greenhouses, which are suited for customers ranging from commercial operations to hobbyists.

Next, we speak with Mike Britton of Oregon’s North Unit Irrigation District about its new pump station, fish screens, and other infrastructure upgrades.

We also talk with Josh Mosier, the North American general manager of Komet Irrigation, a global irrigation company known for its high-efficiency sprinklers and other products.

Then, we speak with Ward Neesen, the chief technology officer at Watertronics, about the new WaterVision 2.0 cloud telemetry system, which can automatically and remotely control pump and irrigation systems, help prepare reports, and adjust flow levels to optimize the output of irrigation devices.

Next, we talk to Alejandro Caballeros, the director of engineering at Spanish engineering and consulting firm BIOAZUL, about the company’s work around the world to purify and reuse wastewater, especially for agricultural irrigation.

We also speak with President Mark Turpin and Business Development Manager Steve Macomber of Duperon about the company’s rakes and screens, which can help irrigation managers handle debris, storm surges, and waste in their systems.

Finally, we turn back to RWCD for an interview with Brad Strader, the district’s water resources and policy manager, about automation, water exchange agreements, and more.

In one sense, the business of irrigated agriculture is simple: putting water on plants. But as we all know, doing this efficiently, productively, and effectively takes hard work, ingenuity, and creativity. From geothermal greenhouses to telemetry systems to recycled wastewater, this month’s interviewees exemplify these qualities.

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 kris.polly@waterstrategies.com.