Volume 14 Issue 8 September NZ

Intercontinental Inspiration

By Kris Polly

Interviewing Jemma Mulvihill was especially interesting for a U.S. magazine active in New Zealand, because Ms. Mulvihill’s studies in the United States and her observation of the irrigated ag techniques in use in Colorado were an influence on her decision to launch her company, Vantage NZ. Today, Vantage NZ is a highly successful ag consulting and technology firm that is seeking to bring the benefits of precision agriculture to farmers across New Zealand.

Then, we speak with two leaders from the Four States Irrigation Council, which has been providing irrigators from Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, and Wyoming a forum to connect with each other and share ideas for more than 70 years. We interview current Four States President Steve Fletcher as well as Brian Werner, who helped run the organization for many years. In addition to its conference each January, which is a must-visit for all in the region, Four States organizes an annual summer tour, which this year visited Wyoming.

With that in mind, we talk to the managers of two Wyoming irrigation districts: Kevin Strecker of Goshen Irrigation District (GID) and Tyler Weckler of Heart Mountain Irrigation District (HMID). GID, which was on the itinerary for Four States’ 2023 tour, has been working to recover from a catastrophic 2019 tunnel collapse and is planning a permanent replacement for the tunnel, among other projects. HMID is working on a variety of rehab projects as well as grappling with the changes in land and water use caused by urbanization.

We also speak with Margo Jarvis Redelback of the Alberta Irrigation Districts Association to learn a bit about irrigated ag north of the border.

Then, we talk to Andrew Skibo, who recently launched ClearChannel Vegetation Management, an aquatic weed control company specifically aimed at helping irrigation districts.

The U.S.–New Zealand connections and interchange of ideas that are part of Vantage’s origin story are a huge inspiration for Water Strategies and Irrigation Leader. We believe strongly in the potential for each country’s irrigated ag sector to inspire the other. I hope you draw ideas from reading about both in this issue, and please remember that if you’re interested in learning more, or even potentially visiting the other country, I am just a call or e-mail away.

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.