Water issues in ag: summary of #agchat questions from Aug 04, 2009

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Water of life Reference information

Semi-complete (as good as it gets) #agchat water issues dialog at http://bit.ly/17doAJ .

agchat: Q1: What is the public’s expectation of water conservation on the farm
  • nycUlla: @agchat I do not think most people have any idea about how important water IS to farming! they are starting to in cali though.
  • RinckerLaw: Q1: Public feels that water is currently being wasted through traditional irrigation practices and livestock
  • akleinschmidt: Q1: I think it depends where in the country you live. Perhaps more emphasis on water conservation west of Mississippi
  • lucas_sjostrom: Q1: I would agree that water is low on the list of #farm concerns. From cows #moo to corn... food safety and humane treatment are #1
  • nycUlla: I think federally founded irrigation is GOING to become a big issue soon. The public is starting to catch on
  • RinckerLaw: Q1: Many environmentalists are concerned with the amount of water that farming requires.
  • TruffleMedia: Q1 I believe there is public perception that ag uses lots of water, but not many could say how much "lots" is.
  • JeffFowle: Environmental Activists drive perception of ag being wasteful in CA. Fail 2 recognize ag as important beneficial use and efficient.
  • natejtaylor: Q1 We have made HUGE strides in #water use & #conservation in#ag.The tech in there now to get even better!! We need to use educate
  • TruffleMedia: fyi on "what is the Great Lakes Compact" see =>http://bit.ly/TX2aS
  • natejtaylor: @TruffleMedia @JeffFowle - Per USDA #ag uses 80% of the consumptive water use.
  • nedcoe: @natejtaylor in CA, ag uses 43%, environmental use 46%, and homes and Bus use 11% of developed water.
  • nedcoe: H2O use per acre by CA rice growers has dropped 65% in the last 20 yrs due to improvements in technology and new farming practices.

agchat: Q2: What states have critical water issues that impact ag and why (via @TruffleMedia)

  • nycUlla: @agchat Q2 I would say all of the west. The drying trend will continue.
  • lucas_sjostrom: Q2: I think the obvious answer here is that every state has its water issues that impact ag... you cannot really rule 1 state out
  • cowartandmore: Can't give you specifics, but municipalities all over Florida are fighting about water
  • AgriLawyer: Q2 the west has natural supply issues, but I would venture to say each has water concerns as @lucas sjostrom stated
  • chenx064: Q2: I'd respond with two questions. 1) Do differences arise from water ownership rules (riparian, prior appropriation) ....
  • chenx064: Q2: Another baseline question: 2) Within any one watershed, do farmers pay market rates for water, or is there a subsidized price
  • FarmerHaley: not much irrigation here in OH, But in IA they started to issue a yearly fee for irrigation and livestock wells
  • RinckerLaw: @nycUlla agreed- Western/Southwestern states obviously have the most water issues with ag due 2 availability
  • nycUlla: @akleinschmidt our natural advantage means nothing when our senators do not fight for ag money on the federal level.
  • skinnyhorse: In the west, we can't raise anything w/o irrigation. Arid to semi-arid climate. No water = no crop.
  • AgriLawyer: @JeffFowle I have a feeling the NPDES aquatic pesticides general permit from CA will makes its way east to many of the states
  • TruffleMedia: @AgriLawyer is NPDES = National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System
  • AgriLawyer: @NateJaeger Q2: Its still all states, it just might be more comprehensive with CWRA
  • TruffleMedia: @AgriLawyer is CWRA = Canadian Water Resources Association
  • aafromaa: Not just observing, &I can't stay, but certainly Georgia/Alabama disputes affect both urban populations & ag

agchat: Q3: How are various water conservation practices affecting commodity/food prices (via @WillRogersToday)

  • nedcoe: Q3 the price of H2O which includes conservation is pushing cropping from low $ crops to high $ crops, such as orchards.
  • JeffFowle: Q3 Initial investment in new efficient methods is expensive. Long term savings do occur though but >power rates threaten $ savings.
  • nedcoe: Cotton land is now growing almonds, but with an interruptible H2O supply, not good, many orchards are brown this year.
  • chenx064: @nedcoe Q3: Very true. No market can overcome zero supply. And there are nonmarket values we do try to vindicate.

agchat: Q4: Beyond food price what are other long term implications as water becomes more scarce, expensive (via @WillRogersToday)

  • nycUlla: @agchat Q4 it could change where we can live.
  • AgriLawyer: Q4: Perhaps the Mad Max/ Chinatown scenario posed by @chenx064earlier - I got the Mel Gibson part though. dibs!
  • RinckerLaw: @JeffACSH - Q4: agreed. More technological advancements or we will have less food.
  • AgriLawyer: Q4: If no technological advancement, then a rearrangement of where food may be grown as water becomes more scarce
  • FarmerHaley: Q4: would have huge economic impacts! Lots of loans and investment $$ tied up in land, can you say another banking crisis
  • chenx064: Q4: Most economic models of #ag predict that higher input prices drive consolidation and increase farm size. Water is a prime input.

agchat: Q5: What are stats, implications on water use requirements for various types of ag (crop vs dairy vs meat etc) (via @TruffleMedia)

  • nedcoe: Q5 Have to be careful with comparing different crops, because the urban user will use that against us.
  • lucas_sjostrom: Q5: Water is always recycled unless it is contaminated. Because food producers do things right, the water comes back eventually
  • Gayle_Secret: Q5 - my understanding is that no-till practices could result in needing more pesticides, correct

agchat: Q6: What role can/should social media play in water conservation

  • scrowell: Q6 SM obviously plays role in education, awareness
  • WillRogersToday: Q6. With a compelling topic, SM can keep you from flushing the toilet for at least 2 hrs
  • TruffleMedia: Q6 Social media as a tool can help provide #ag #h2o info to those that normally are not aware. However, deeper info/action needed.
  • nycUlla: interview i did about holistic management. ever heard of it http://bit.ly/jDSQ6