MOORE COUNTY, Texas (KVII) — The North Plains Groundwater Conservation District in Moore County is accepting applications for next year’s Master Irrigator program.
Practical solutions are taught in four six-hour classes where students learn conservation practices.
In this week’s Panhandle Runs on Water, ABC7 News looks at how one graduate from the Class of 2016 benefited from the program.
“One of our most important natural resources is our water and we have got to do an excellent job of conserving our water,” said Darren Stallwitz, ag producer.
To help ag producers and farmers with conserving groundwater starting in March, the North Plains Groundwater Conservation District is offering its Master Irrigator program.
Stallwitz has worked in agriculture for 50 years and believes the course he graduated from is helping him improve efficiency by taking care of soil and water.
“Some of the new sprinkler packages I was not familiar with before I went and then there are some that have come out since then that I like but have been told to me from the class,” said Stallwitz.
Graduates will be armed with knowledge and skills that will help them maximize their return on investment while minimizing their water use.
“It really focuses on residue management, water management or irrigation control, pest management and nutrition all of these things go into the health of the plant which ultimately affects its water efficiency,” said Kirk Welch, assistant general manager of outreach for North Plains Groundwater Conservation District.
The program started in 2016. It helps put complicated terms and practices into simple and easy-to-understand concepts where producers can begin to see a difference in how much water they save.
“We’ve got almost a hundred graduates that are out there in the North Plains District that have graduated from the program,” said Welch. “Roughly 300,000 acres which is about 30% of the irrigated acres in the North Plains district are now really under the influence of master irrigators.”
The cutoff date to sign up for the Master Irrigators program is on Feb. 5. It is open to anyone but there is a priority for producers who live within the boundary of the North Plains Groundwater Conservation District.
If interested in signing up contact the district at (806) 935-6401. Staff will also be present at the upcoming Farm & Ranch Show in Amarillo at the Civic Center to meet with anyone interested in signing up.