With farmers applying less water thanks to conservation efforts, “they’ll be recharging less groundwater,” Runsten explained, “which means that we’ll have to do that consciously.” That may mean selectively flooding fields with surface water during the winter or in wet years, allowing more to filter down into the underground reservoirs. "We were taking an already approved project that had failed and we're using the water for ag purposes now," Tackett-Hicks said. Rose said that agriculture has always been a global industry and the percentage of alfalfa grown in Arizona that is not exported somewhere outside of the state is minuscule. We learned in the discussions about the water cycle and weather that changes in the wind patterns that move clouds and moisture through the atmosphere can cause a place to not receive its normal amount of rain or snow over a long period of time.. Iowa's farm organizations have attacked the lawsuit. Now a member of the Iowa Legislature — and full-time farmer — has introduced a bill that would abolish the Des Moines Water Works. "New crops that are less water-intensive and higher value such as hemp and baby potatoes are being produced," the company said in an emailed statement. Why are crops like cotton grown in Australia? The state doesn't require meters on wells in rural Arizona, so nobody is tracking how many gallons are pumped out. Still, despite these benefits, farmers use CIMIS data on only 5 percent of irrigated cropland in California, the U.S.’s leading agricultural state. “They are just going to suck it dry and then be gone.”. Sludge is also an effective soil conditioner, as it is a good source of organic matter. Several companies behind the project went bankrupt and the pivots were left in the desert to rust. The company declined to disclose how much water it uses annually, saying use is consistent with other farming operations. Some grow hay. In Arizona, Al Dahra operates in three of the corporate agricultural hotspots — it leases about 3,000 acres in Wenden from IFC and an estimated 2,000 acres in Hyder, and it owns what was once a massive farm north of Kingman in the Red Lake area. “There’s no protection for this valley for water,” Goodman said. There will always be somebody who will talk about the way you … I want to sell, that’s it.”. Miles said she appreciated that Peacock is trying to use conservation measures like drip irrigation, but she said she’s still concerned that the expansion of agriculture in Kingman could deplete water the town relies on. The same is true for groundwater in aquifers deep in the soil. Use this publication as a guide to figure your taxes and complete your farm tax return. Though not all of that land is irrigated, if it were, it would equal nearly 15 percent of the harvested cropland in Arizona, as tallied by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Instead these ghost pivots sit on weeds and land that the desert has reclaimed. 1. Together the company plans to manage 150,000 cattle on both properties, said spokesman Kevin Wulf. Started in 2014 with the purchase of the Faria Dairy on Kansas Settlement Road south of Willcox, it is building a huge expansion to the southeast called Turkey Creek Dairy. “They know there’s enough water.”. For instance, farm groups campaigned against the Clean Water Rule, issued by the Obama administration. They also have the capacity to pump water to considerable heights. His wife, Trixie Skousen, said she fully expects their corporate neighbors will squeeze what they can out of their investments and then leave once there is no more money to be made. “It’s not legal to export groundwater or surface water out of the state. “It hit just all of sudden, just like less than a year,” Watson said. Bruce Babbitt, the former Arizona governor who signed the landmark groundwater management act in 1980, called the state's letter to Mohave County rejecting the INA "mumbo jumbo.". IFC announced last year that it was seeking to raise $1.5 billion in capital to buy large farm properties and lease them out to tenants. “We don’t have the rules in place to prevent that from happening.”. It’s not only the corporate farms that are profiting from Arizona’s underground water. But these massive irrigation systems don’t sit astride deep green circles of alfalfa. These pumps can supply water around the farm from a reliable source, either dam or bore without any requirement for wind. These are farmers from outside our area coming in and utilizing our resources,” Cobb said. In today’s economy, being able to do things efficiently is as important as ever. The negatives are it can contain potentially toxic elements (PTEs) which are a risk to human, plant and animal health. It defines what streams or wetlands are considered waters of the U.S., and thus covered by the Clean Water Act. Water troughs with low usage need to be flushed out periodically as evaporation will lead to a … Yet the people responsible for that pollution, America's farmers, are fighting any hint of regulation to prevent it. Livestock. MN Pollution Control Agency/Flickr Environmental coverage on azcentral.com and in The Arizona Republic is supported by a grant from the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust. Alfalfa is the thirstiest crop grown in western Colorado, consuming as much as 3 acre-feet of water per acre of crop each year. "We're using what was already allocated.". Mohave County Supervisor Gary Watson said Rhodes and other investors essentially bought up most of the private properties they could in the Red Lake area to get the water underneath them. The way environmentalist Craig Cox sees it, streams and rivers across much of the country are suffering from the side effects of growing our food. Some of the water used by each of these sectors returns to rivers and groundwater basins where it can be used again. Al Dahra sells hay in the U.S. and exports to countries across Asia and the Middle East. Phosphorus runoff is feeding toxic algae blooms in rivers and lakes, "interfering with people's vacations. Farms consume about 80 percent of the state’s water supply, and use it to grow half of the fruits and veggies that are produced in the United States. Cotton is a desert plant that is water efficient and suits Australia’s climate. Cobb, a Republican representative from Kingman, said the Peacock Nuts operation is "mining our water." She had driven up the dusty rural road to store a bighorn sheep she killed on a hunt. They can plant "cover crops," making sure that there's always vegetation on their fields to capture nitrates before that pollution runs into streams. "It has been pretty much a free-for-all," Wulf said. The giant silver center pivot systems can be hard to spot from the road amid the scrub desert. "I can't look out into the future. That's what the law says. I told the farmer, when addressing his ego, that at his age he had a chance to retire by cutting back and getting rid of debt. Integrated Ag was created in 2012 and is headquartered in Scottsdale. There’s no cost for the groundwater other than the cost of drilling the well and the electricity to bring the water to the surface. “You almost feel helpless because we can’t get anything passed legislatively,” Cobb said, because legislators are scared regulation in one area will spread to other areas. Requirements of Farm. Water rights are property rights, but their holders do not own the water itself. The rush to drill has also brought in investment firms that prepare the land for farming, drill wells and either rent out the land or sell it. But Al Dahra said its Hualapai Valley Farm no longer grows alfalfa. This publication explains how the federal tax laws apply to farming. After coming together in December 2018, the group bought nearly 7,500 acres east of the Kingman Airport. Before the farms came in, Mohave County had virtually no large-scale agriculture. That pumping draws on groundwater that has built up over thousands of years. Look hard and you can see the pivots marooned in the desert like a shipwreck. "Water resources in Arizona must be managed wisely in order to preserve our quality of life and to protect the state’s economic health," Al Dahra said. While Fondomonte’s operation "only makes up less than 3 percent of Arizona’s total alfalfa production, it is really meaningful for the company and the millions of people who rely on their dairy products," Rose wrote. Natural Watercourses 3. They include private-equity firms, investment funds focused on agriculture, and foreign food companies, mirroring the nationwide trend of big capital driving the ag industry and leading to larger farms. With no power lines to the area, the company had to use diesel generators. “The family has the room to sell some land to cut some operation back. It owns an estimated 9,200 acres in both Yuma and Maricopa counties around Hyder, one of Arizona’s new frontiers for industrial farming operations. Systems can be caused by not receiving rain or snow over a period of time,... Sectors returns to rivers and lakes, `` interfering with people 's vacations place the! They can send the water, ” Cobb said said its Hualapai Valley farm no longer grows alfalfa by... Down to the desert has reclaimed CA #: 0378-0 ) and other animals how long their remaining will... Goes back as far as the eye can see, ” Cobb said crop weight equal to greater! 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