Volume 14 Issue 7 July/August MT

Conversation With an Expert

By Kris Polly

It can be rewarding to pick the brain of a person about the topic they know best, and that’s why I think this month’s cover story is so fun to read. Our Montana engineering Contributing Editor Mike Murphy sat down with recently retired attorney Holly Franz to talk about Montana water law, the cases she’s seen over her career, and the most recent legislative session. I know you’ll find it interesting to hear her opinions, whether you agree with them or not.

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 Caballero, 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.

The Odessa Groundwater Replacement Program (OGWRP) is an important project that is designed to eliminate excessive groundwater pumping in central Washington State. We speak with four of the program’s top advocates about recent progress toward its goals.

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.