The Colorado Sun Features James Eklund in Article About the System Conservation Pilot Program
James Eklund was featured by the Colorado Sun in an article that examines the advantages and disadvantages of the System Conservation Pilot Program, a program that pays farmers to temporarily cut their water use on a voluntary basis. The article discusses the conservation program’s key takeaways from this year and suggestions some agricultural producers have for the program moving forward.
Below is an excerpt from the article.
This year, Eklund joined the conservation program, which he helped establish in 2014 as the former director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board, the state’s top water policy agency.
“We took 70 acres, and thought: What’s the best thing we can do here? The best thing to do, to test this and see if it works for us, is fallow. So we fallowed that land,” he said.
Looking ahead, he wants to participate in future programs and to have a more accurate cost estimate for conserved water based on economic inflation, startup costs for replanting on fallowed land, and the cost of any extra feed he would need to buy on the spot market. This year, he negotiated a price of $621 per acre-foot of conserved water, an increase over the original offer from the state of $150 per acre-foot.
If the federal government didn’t cover all of the conservation costs for farmers and ranchers, Eklund proposed filling the gap with private funding and said he’s actively trying to involve companies that want to get their water footprint down to zero. That extra investment would only help producers get better at what they do, he said.
Read the full article HERE.