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Irrigation Workshop Set in December

The number of irrigated acres in North Dakota increased from 190,000 in 1993 to more than 300,000 in 2016. (NDSU photo) The number of irrigated acres in North Dakota increased from 190,000 in 1993 to more than 300,000 in 2016. (NDSU photo)
Investing in irrigation can be worthwhile if you have a reliable source of water.

Water permits and research updates will be among the topics covered during an irrigation workshop the North Dakota State University Extension Service is holding Dec. 7 in Bismarck.

The workshop is in the Grand Pacific Room at the Best Western Ramkota Hotel. It will be held in conjunction with the North Dakota Water Users Association convention. NDSU Extension and the North Dakota Irrigation Association sponsor the workshop. An irrigation exposition for suppliers to display their products and services will be held at the same time.

“Some areas of the state experienced drought conditions during the growing season, and having the ability to irrigate produced a substantial difference in yields,” says NDSU Extension agricultural engineer Tom Scherer, who focuses on irrigation and water quality.

“It is interesting to note that North Dakota has been in a ‘wet cycle’ since about 1993,” he adds. “According to the Farm Service Agency, that year, there were about 190,000 irrigated acres, and in 2016, there were over 300,000 irrigated acres. Think what the acreage would be if the weather had been dry or even normal.”

Irrigation provides more consistent crop production on a year-to-year basis, allows growth of longer-season crops, diversifies the farm enterprise and provides a consistent supply of forage for animal operations.

“If you can obtain a reliable water source, investing in irrigation is a great hedge against the ravages of a severe drought,” Scherer says.

The registration fee for the workshop is $30. It’s payable at the door and includes lunch.

Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum will speak at 8:30 a.m., and workshop presentations begin at 9.

The morning session will include an update on water permits, water appropriations and pending permit applications; mapping aquifers using airborne electromagnetic surveys; irrigation development along the McClusky Canal; an economic analysis of irrigation along the canal; and updates from the Oakes and Nesson Valley irrigation research sites.

The North Dakota Irrigation Association will hold its annual meeting in the same room from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The highlight of the afternoon session will be a presentation on herbicide-resistant weeds. Additional presentations will be on irrigated pasture and cover crops, using unmanned aerial systems with irrigation, and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) precision irrigation projects.

For more, information contact Scherer at 701-231-7239 or

Scherer notes that irrigation also will be one of the topics covered at the MonDak Ag Research Summit, which will be held Nov. 15 at the Richland County Event Center in Sidney, Mont. Presenters, including NDSU researchers and agronomists, will discuss dryland and irrigated cropping systems. NDSU’s Williston Research Extension Center is a partner in this event and NDSU Extension is a sponsor.

NDSU Agriculture Communication - Nov. 3, 2017

Source:Tom Scherer, 701-231-7239,
Editor:Ellen Crawford, 701-231-5391,
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