- Agronomic: corn, sunflower, wheat
- Vegetables: onions, cucurbits
- Crop Production: windbreaks
- Education and Training: extension, networking, technical assistance
- Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns, agricultural finance
- Production Systems: integrated crop and livestock systems
- Sustainable Communities: infrastructure analysis, employment opportunities, sustainability measures
Concerned over the rapid dewatering of the aquifer in southeast Colorado, the Baca Conservation District teamed up with the Natural Resources Conservation Service to offer irrigators cost-sharing incentives to install drip irrigation. Properly managed, subsurface drip can supply water to crops in small amounts with little waste, reaching up to 98% efficiency. Drip innovators in the area have struggled with system management. Jim Valliant, irrigation specialist with Colorado State University Cooperative Extension, plans to use a Western SARE Professional + Producer grant to help farmers improve their drip systems and provide guidelines for future drip irrigators. Working with Brent Morris on a 170-acre field on which subsurface drip lines were installed in 2003, Valliant will test the effectiveness of cover crops to prevent wind damage of emerging crops, assess methods of getting moisture to seedlings for proper germination and explore tillage methods over buried drip lines that keep beds aligned.