• If you are having problems logging in please use the Contact Us in the lower right hand corner of the forum page for assistance.

Why farmers shouldn't feel bad

Help Support Ranchers.net:

Larrry

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 23, 2007
Messages
8,645
Reaction score
0
Location
The good ole USA
Why farmers shouldn't feel bad about a subsidy check

What the government giveth they taketh away and then some

http://www.wnd.com/2012/06/farmer-panic-crops-die-as-govt-blocks-wells/

GREELEY, Colo. – Farmers in Colorado are watching their fields dry up amid one of the worst droughts in the state’s history.
Ads by Google

Soil Tillage, More YieldsTillage Radish® cover crop delivers N, no-till soil, root system health www.TillageRadish.com
Downhole Pumps & ServiceMost Experienced Staff In The Area Longer Run Time - Lower Costs www.edisupply.com

But just a few feet beneath them, the water is so plentiful it’s flooding basements and causing septic systems to overflow.

Yet the government will not permit farmers to pump the water to save their crops.

With a lower-than-normal snowpack, farmers in northeastern Colorado who rely on the South Platte River are facing severe water shortages in which they are not able to even water some of their crops.

Dennis Hoshiko, a fourth-generation onion farmer with 2,500 acres, said he has let around 15 percent of his land sit fallow this season because of a lack of water

“We have entire sections where the seeds were planted a month ago in dry earth, and they have not sprouted yet because they have not been watered.”

While it may seem to be a case of battling Mother Nature, the problem could be solved if government officials would simply flip a switch.

Many of the farmers have wells that draw groundwater for use in situations like this. But in 2006, the Colorado Supreme Court ordered 440 wells shut down and curtailed the pumping of another 1,000.

Under long-established Colorado water doctrine, water is distributed under the principle of first in use, first in right whereby prior users have senior rights to junior users. The decision to shut down the wells came about during a historic drought in the early 2000s that caused water in the South Platte River to become scarce.

Senior right holders such as the cities of Boulder, Centennial, Highlands Ranch and Sterling, which had experienced phenomenal growth in the 1990s, became concerned their water supply in the river basin was being depleted by junior water-right well owners who were pumping water from the Alluvium Aquifer, which flows into the South Platte River Basin.

Following the shutdowns, the volume of water discharged into the artificial recharge systems in the South Platte Basin has increased, reaching more than 350,000 acre-feet in 2009. The increase in ground water has now come to the point where local basements are being flooded, causing damage to the homes.

Doug Leafgren, president of Northern Colorado Geotech, which conducts soil and percolation testing, said his organization has noticed higher groundwater levels during their subsurface investigations in the county over the past four or five years.

Glen Fritzler, a farmer who operates the nationally known Fritzler Corn Maze that has been featured on the “Today” show, said he has spent more than $50,000 in home repairs because of flooding over the past few years.

While the flooding is a concern, Fritzler said the rising groundwater levels are causing area septic systems to fail, forcing human waste to rise to the surface.

Leafgren said septic systems require four feet of soil above a “limiting zone” to work effectively.

“If an older system previously maintained four feet of suitable soil, but groundwater has since decreased this zone, there is potential for contamination of the groundwater system with human waste,” he said. “It could also be possible that higher groundwater would cause the waste to come to the ground surface.”

Despite the rising ground-water levels, officials still refuse to let the farmers turn on their wells, and that means many farmers will be out of water in the next few weeks.

“If we are not allowed to turn our wells on, our crops will dry up and we will lose everything,” Fritzler said. “What is so maddening is that we have the water we need right under our feet, and it is so plentiful it is flooding our basements. We cannot use it.”

Recognizing the severity of the situation, the state legislature recently passed a bill commissioning a study, but it is not required to be completed until June 1, 2013. There is no provision in the legislation requiring officials to permit farmers to turn the wells on before then.

State Sen. Scott Renfroe, one of the bill’s sponsors, said the legislation originally had those provisions, but it was stripped from the final legislation.

“It was not stripped by Democrats, because in Colorado water knows no party lines,” he said. “The opposition came from those who have senior water rights which are generally the big cities such as Denver and Boulder.”

Renfroe said he agrees the wells need to be turned on now. However, he said the study is at least a step in the right direction.

“We have farmers who are hurting from both a lack of water and rising water table,” he said. “Some have said the salt content is so high their soil only has two years of productive use left.”

Renfroe added: “This study should have been done five years ago when the wells were first turned off. I know it’s a baby step, but it’s a huge accomplishment when you consider the environment at the capital. There are many people who want to maintain the status quo. I understand the concerns of senior water holders, and this legislation has a lot of protections for them, but we need to find a way to benefit everybody.”

Fritzler said while he is glad the study will be conducted, he and other farmers cannot wait until next year.

“I have enough irrigation water from the South Platte for perhaps two to three more weeks. The only way we could go beyond that would be for Denver to get significant rainfall every three to five days and that isn’t going to happen.”

Hoshiko said he is in better shape than many farmers, because he has been able to purchase senior water rights but noted that many farmers are not as fortunate.

“Last night I saw a 14-year-old boy shoveling ditches and getting ready to do flood irrigation after the sun went down, and right beside him is a well that is capable of producing 1,200 gallons a minute, but they can’t touch it,” Hoshiko said. “The crops are sitting in dry dirt because we are in one of the worst droughts in Colorado history and we can’t use the water that is right under our feet.”

He said what is frustrating is that droughts like the current one are precisely the reason the wells were drilled.
“Our predecessors built these wells years ago to get us through droughts like this. If they were alive today they would slap us silly for how we are wasting this resource.”
 

Steve

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 13, 2005
Messages
16,547
Reaction score
0
Location
Wildwood New Jersey
a depression... a dust bowl...

and both are not needed,... maybe the liberals in the cities need to be shut off.. :mad: before we are stuck with to many liberals, a depression and another dust bowl...
 

okfarmer

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 14, 2010
Messages
1,059
Reaction score
0
Location
Oklahoma
tumbleweed_texn said:
Let a bunch of them miss a few meals and their tune will change.

Tex

You give them way to much credit. If they had a rational thought process, they would already get it, but they don't and they won't. When food becomes expensive because of decreased suppy, they will just call farmers names for gouging them and then organize an occupy the farm movement which will decrease production further.

To understand them, think... what would a 10 year old.... no, what would a 5 year old that hasn't had a single whipping do? Then and only then, can you communicate.
 

tumbleweed_texn

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 2, 2006
Messages
255
Reaction score
0
Location
Among the sagebrush and greasewood.
okfarmer said:
tumbleweed_texn said:
Let a bunch of them miss a few meals and their tune will change.

Tex

You give them way to much credit. If they had a rational thought process, they would already get it, but they don't and they won't. When food becomes expensive because of decreased suppy, they will just call farmers names for gouging them and then organize an occupy the farm movement which will decrease production further.

To understand them, think... what would a 10 year old.... no, what would a 5 year old that hasn't had a single whipping do? Then and only then, can you communicate.


Yep

Tex
 

smalltime

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 25, 2005
Messages
600
Reaction score
0
Location
SD
So what you are saying then Steve is that laws and water rights maen nothing to you if a famers profits are threatened.A little end justifies the means Steve? :shock:
 

Larrry

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 23, 2007
Messages
8,645
Reaction score
0
Location
The good ole USA
smalltime said:
So what you are saying then Steve is that laws and water rights maen nothing to you if a famers profits are threatened.A little end justifies the means Steve? :shock:

I sure don't know how you got that out of Steves comments
 

Red Barn Angus

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 7, 2005
Messages
423
Reaction score
0
Location
Eastern KS
How did the cities get the senior water rights? I would have thought they would have been determined by seniority and that many water rights would have been held by farmers for generations making them the holders of the senior rights or, at least, many of the senior rights. Maybe I don't understand how water rights are designated.
 

lonewolvie

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 23, 2007
Messages
185
Reaction score
0
The cities need the water for top priorities such as keeping lawns and golf courses green.
 

Triangle Bar

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 24, 2008
Messages
1,287
Reaction score
2
Location
S. Central Colorado
This is a complex issue, which this article doesn't fully explore.

CO water law is governed by the doctrine of prior appropriation, first in time first in right, also called the Priority System. This matter is further complicated by the S. Platte's River Compact. CO doesn't own all the water in the river. States downstream are entitled to water, which means in dry years surface water users, both senior and junior, are curtailed in order to deliver water to neighboring states.

The droughts of the early 2000's may well have been the catalyst for well regulation and curtailment, but this issue was a long time in coming. The first wells were drilled by farmers as a supplement to their surface water to extend irrigation further into the summer after the runoff had ended. Well permits, issued by the state, and drilling continued by farmers, municipalities, and commercial interests until the aquifer became over appropriated. The over appropriated aquifer began to cause depletions to the flow of the river and cause harm to property rights of senior water users and the ability to deliver water to downstream states. Ultimately the wells were shut off.

Now the aquifer is refilling and approaching it's historical levels in some areas and those who are yelling about being injured are the ones who were causing injury to others. Perhaps this proposed study will determine if there is a level of pumping that can occur without causing injury to others.
 

jigs

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 17, 2005
Messages
8,440
Reaction score
0
Location
KANSAS
aaaahhhhh a water fight..... we have one ourselves with Nebraska. If a city needs water, you will get shut off. no questions asked. we farm in the area of 3 towns water supply wells. and the split second that a trace of chemical shows up, a 5 mile radius is shut off from using any chemical. if the water level drops below a certain area, the "well head protection area" has all sub surface irrigation shut off.

senior pumping rights are the law untill the cities need the water


to see a mans crops die, so they can keep the golf course green is BS....if that happened here, I would be up to the golf course with round up or ground sterilant.....
 

hopalong

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 12, 2006
Messages
8,019
Reaction score
0
Location
Az.
smalltime said:
So what you are saying then Steve is that laws and water rights maen nothing to you if a famers profits are threatened.A little end justifies the means Steve? :shock:

Say what?????????????????????
 

andybob

Well-known member
Joined
May 24, 2006
Messages
1,199
Reaction score
16
Location
Fordingbridge England.
We had a system where water bailiffs controlled the water usage, if drought led to low water levels in city and irrigation canals, appropriate restrictions were imposed, including hosepipe bans in the city, no watering of golf courses and parks etc, essential water supplies to households were protected while ensuring industry and agriculture were able to operate. Often reticulated water was used for golf courses and the city parks, but water features on city water would be emptied.
 
Top