By Tom Davis
2nd Quarter 2019
Greetings members and friends. Let me start by saying “thank you” for your membership in the Agribusiness & Water Council of Arizona, and if you are not a member yet, we invite you to join.
We want to thank so many who attended, sponsored or had an exhibit at our recent, successful Annual Meeting & Water Conference at the Salt River Project’s PERA Conference Center in Tempe. What a nice crowd and brilliant speakers addressing us on the future of Food, Energy and Water, looking out to year 2030.
A special thanks to our sponsors: Salt River Project; Wellton-Mohawk Irrigation & Drainage District; the Yuma County Water Users’ Association; the City of Surprise; Arlington Canal Company; Central Arizona Project; ASU’s Morrison School of Agribusiness; the Arizona Grain Research & Promotion Council; Farmers Investment Company/Green Valley Pecan Company and Wells Fargo. We also extend a thanks to our vendors who provided helpful information at their booths: Arizona Farm & Ranch Experience; Hydro Resources; the Arizona Department of Agriculture; Intellifarms and Enterprise Fleet Management. We couldn’t have experienced such a tremendous conference without our sponsors and vendors! Thank you again.
Our conference began with Salt River Project’s, Dave Roberts providing encouraging words and a warm welcome to their facility and to the conference. We also heard from Dr. Jeff Silvertooth, Associate Dean and Director of the University of Arizona’s Cooperative Extension Service. Dr. Silvertooth set the tone for the conference by touching on our theme: The Future of Food, Energy & Water, 2030. Dr. Silvertooth then turned time to Dr. Tim Dennehy, a BASF Agricultural Scientist who discussed the “Future of Crop Production Systems by 2030,” followed by question and answers from attendees. Dr. Channah Rock, Water Quality Extension Specialist and Associate Professor at the UA, focused remarks on the, “Future of Food Safety,” referring to recent experiences and attention on romaine lettuce in the Yuma area and work on Irrigation Water Metrics. Following Dr. Rock was a member of our Executive Council, Ed Gerak. Ed is the Executive Director of the Arizona Power Authority and provided a timely and informative presentation on our “Energy Future” in Arizona and the mix of energy types we can likely expect, looking to year 2030. Ed Gerak was followed by Patrick Dent, Water Operations Manager at Central Arizona Project. He provided a snapshot of cost impacts to CAP’s diverse customers with the future closing of the Navajo Generating Station (NGS) near Page, Arizona. NGS has provided a coal-fired base load of energy to pump Colorado River water uphill through the Central Arizona Project system to its terminus near Tucson. Following Patrick’s remarks, we heard from UA Cooperative Extension Specialist and Research Scientist, Dr. Paul Brown. Dr. Brown enlightened attendees on the, “Importance and Future of Water” in Arizona and referred to a number of studies completed covering water efficiency and use in the Yuma area and other parts of the state. Dr. Brown was followed by Sarah Porter, Executive Director of the Kyl Center for Water Policy. Sarah provided a first-hand perspective on projects and programs the Kyl Center is working on, namely the “Arizona Water Blueprint-- a Map for Arizona’s Water Resilience.
All our speakers came well prepared with helpful and timely information for those in attendance. Wrapping things up as our concluding speaker was Dr. George Seperich, ASU Emeritus Professor and active member of the ABWC Executive Committee. He laser focused in on just how important water is to each of us and to our planet and that nothing can happen and our very lives depend on water for survival.
A huge thank you to our volunteers who provide so much help each year. Rosi Sherrill, Jeannette Fish and Brett Cameron. Also, a huge thanks to our state FFA officers: President Savannah Burt and Vice-President, Matthew Colville. We can’t thank you enough!
Newsletter of the Agribusiness & Water Council of Arizona