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.". Now she sees some of the alfalfa farms struggling. In Iowa, meanwhile, the water utility for the city of Des Moines is facing a threat to its existence because it picked a regulatory fight with the state's farmers. 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. The pistachio trees will eventually extend to the base of the Peacock Mountains. But that won’t stop the pumping of the aquifer. Companies use Arizona’s groundwater to grow alfalfa, pistachios, pecans or other crops and then export some of the products to other states or countries. Its deepest well is nearly 2,500 feet deep. Mark Skousen, who runs a second-generation family farm in Hyder, is concerned about the surge of well-drilling since Integrated Ag and IFC arrived in the valley. Rhodes, who once hoped to build tens of thousands of new homes in parts of Mohave County, began blading desert, drilling wells and installing center pivots to farm hay and other crops for export. 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.. He said drip irrigation is also good for organic farming and the company tries to keep its farming organic whenever possible. “This is a major, major deal for this county," said Claire Miller, who lives near several farms. “If you look straight down these rows it goes back as far as the eye can see,” Cobb said. The farms scaled back operations because of the expense of getting the water out, Watson said. That's what the law says. “Anybody can come out here and literally rape the valley of its water. Larry Hancock, the owner of LKH Farming, rents about 2,500 acres of farmland in the Wenden area from IFC. It wouldn't take much to have a big impact — if farmers could boost water efficiency by just 4 percent, that would increase the amount of water for cities and businesses by 50 percent. It can be caused by not receiving rain or snow over a period of time. These pumps can supply water around the farm from a reliable source, either dam or bore without any requirement for wind. Drinking water: Farms providing for human consumption (e.g., drinking, showering) from its own source to 25 people or through 15 service connections for more than 59 days/year. Integrated Ag was created in 2012 and is headquartered in Scottsdale. Growing crops that are appropriate to the region’s climate is another way … This is preventable, Cox says. hide caption. The round circles of bright green crops created by Riverview's 200 center-pivot irrigation systems fall away from the road as Kansas Settlement slices north and south through the area. Introduction 2. "The company is fully committed to Arizona and plans to remain here for the long-term. Follow The Republic environmental reporting team at environment.azcentral.com and @azcenvironment on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Peacock Nuts, a consortium that includes the largest permanent crop nursery in the United States, has even bigger plans: 4,500 acres and as many as 650,000 pistachio trees. A federal study showed that in 2011 groundwater pumping in the Hualapai Basin surrounding Kingman exceeded the rate of recharge by 5,600 acre-feet annually. “If they pump them all, it's whoever has the biggest straw is going to get the last drop, I guess.”. “They know there’s enough water.”. Some farmers do this; many do not. Requirements of Farm. Peacock Nuts LLC is a huge consortium of interests that includes Duarte Farms, which calls itself the largest permanent crops nursery in the United States, a farmer from Las Vegas and several U.S. investors who live abroad. “They come in with a big idea and sell to their investors, the investors put money in it, then they lose everything and they move on,” she said. “These funds are buying up farm ground,” Hancock said, adding that farm real estate is seen as a good investment. The invention of the seed drill gave farmers much greater control over depth, spacing, and it allowed them the ability to cover seeds without back-tracking. She said the companies didn’t invest millions of dollars into the area “in order to fail.”, “They don’t intend to ever leave,” Judd said. Details of the typical nutrient content can be found in AHDB’s RB209 guide [PDF]. In a pilot study, growers using the California Irrigation Management Information System (CIMIS) reduced their water use by 13 percent while increasing their yields by 8 percent. Fondomonte has spent $50 million to upgrade the irrigation infrastructure and technology to significantly reduce the water usage on the farm, Rose said, adding the company wants to be in Arizona forever and be "one of the most efficient farming operations possible.". The big trucks vary in what kind of mileage they get because most farm trucks are pulling heavy loads. In 2015, Agri Investor reported that the company had a pipeline of about $200 million of investments and was planning to create a new $250 million fund to invest in distressed real estate in Arizona and Nevada. Many farm groups say they are working hard to reduce pollution caused by runoff from farms. Now a member of the Iowa Legislature — and full-time farmer — has introduced a bill that would abolish the Des Moines Water Works. One well is about to give out, and she’s not sure how long their remaining well will last. It is one step but much more progress is needed. SE, Ste. Cotton is a desert plant that is water efficient and suits Australia’s climate. [They're] taking their kids to the beach and the beach is closed. Before the farms came in, Mohave County had virtually no large-scale agriculture. "We're using what was already allocated.". Some of the water used by each of these sectors returns to rivers and groundwater basins where it can be used again. For instance, farm groups campaigned against the Clean Water Rule, issued by the Obama administration. Best Management Practices help to put the farm’s resources into perspective and help the farmer visualize how those resources can be used best on the farm. The company declined to disclose how much water it uses annually, saying use is consistent with other farming operations. By analyzing more than 250,000 well-drilling records, more than 30,000 well-depth records and property records in 10 Arizona counties, The Republic compiled a list of large out-of-state companies that could be — or have been — some of the largest water takers in the state. Now let’s see the drill in action… 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. 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. Surface Water 4. Small Drinking Water Systems. Life insurance issued by Farmers New World Life Insurance Company, a Washington domestic company: 3120 139 th Ave. Tom Buschatzke, director of the state's Department of Water Resources, said the law prevents him from acting. Farmers with a water licence can use the water they extract to grow whatever they like. With no power lines to the area, the company had to use diesel generators. The company is the fifth largest employer in La Paz County, Rose said, and 102 of its employees live in company housing. And we could farm less,” he said. “We don’t have the rules in place to prevent that from happening.”. Combined, the seven companies own, farm or control more than 130,000 acres across the state. Together the company plans to manage 150,000 cattle on both properties, said spokesman Kevin Wulf. 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 huts are arranged in rows that are longer than football fields. There's stories about people getting sick.". Some can draw water from nearly half a mile below ground. But Al Dahra said its Hualapai Valley Farm no longer grows alfalfa. After coming together in December 2018, the group bought nearly 7,500 acres east of the Kingman Airport. Groundwater studies by state and federal scientists have shown a dramatic increase in pumping since the agricultural businesses arrived. Starting a landscaping business can be expensive, but farmers who want to opt for a greener path … Along each row of waist-high saplings, long black irrigation tubes stretched out to connect the seemingly endless trees and nourish them with water. 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