NRCS programs fund irrigation system upgrades

Using NRCS Programs to Modernize Your Irrigation System

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This case study provides a real-world example of how a grower in Reedley, CA (Fresno County), worked with the local NRCS office and Cal-West to design and install a new irrigation system to meet their conservation goals. Additionally, the grower applied for and received financial assistance from NRCS to support the design and installation of their conservation plan.

Key Takeaways:

  • NRCS offers this assistance at no cost to the producers they serve. The goal of NRCS is to give producers personalized advice and information, based on the latest science and research, to help them make informed decisions.
  • If a producer chooses to take the next step towards improving their operations, NRCS can work with them to develop a conservation plan, with suggested conservation practices that can help them reach their production and conservation goals.
  • Producers can also choose to apply for financial assistance to get help installing the conservation practices outlined in their conservation plan.
  • Getting started as early as possible is critical to your chances of obtaining financial assistance.
  • These programs are designed for operations of all types and sizes. Don’t hesitate to contact the NRCS to explore options for your specific operation and circumstances.

Problem: Although flood irrigation had worked well for many years, it’s a very inefficient method of irrigation. Given the ongoing drought in Central California and the extreme pressures to conserve water resources, combined with the advances in irrigation methods and technology, it was time to make a change for this particular grower.

Location: Reedley, CA
Acres: 216
Crop(s): Almonds, Pistachios, Citrus, Cherries
Project Status: Completed in October 2022

Solution: The grower worked closely with the NRCS and Cal-West Rain to develop a conservation plan based on a new irrigation system (drip system, reservoir, pumps, filtration, automation, controls, and monitoring) for their farming operation. In the end, they also applied for and received financial assistance from the NRCS to assist with the cost of installing the system outlined in their conservation plan.

NRCS program provides assistance to California growers

Irrigation System #1 – 91.5 Acres

  • Single set system, dual line drip system
    • Set: 91.5 acres of almonds
  • 6 x 48” H pattern Fresno Valve & Castings sand media filters
  • 60 hp short coupled turbine pump with VFD on a concrete pump stand

Irrigation System #2 – 84.6 Acres

  • Two set system, dual line drip system
    • Set 1: 38.8 acres of pistachios
    • Set 2: 69.7 acres of citrus and 14.9 acres of cherries
  • 6 x 48” H pattern Fresno Valve & Castings sand media filters
  • 60 hp short-coupled turbine pump with VFD on a concrete pump stand

Other Project Details

  • Both systems are drawing from a seven (7) acre foot lined reservoir (also funded by NRCS). The reservoir is fed from several wells located on the farm and surface water provided by Consolidated Water District.
  • Both systems are fully automated using a Wiseconn DropControl system for remote scheduling, control, and monitoring.

Expected Benefits

  • Water is efficiently delivered to the root zone via drip irrigation reducing evaporation, runoff and waste.
  • Significantly improved irrigation efficiency while conserving water resources across the entire system.
  • Automation can be used to tailor water delivery based needs of the crop, season and weather conditions.
  • The modernized system meets the conservation goals of both the grower and NRCS, plus qualified for NRCS financial assistance.

How can NRCS assist farmers and ranchers?

NRCS offers technical and financial assistance to help producers plan and implement conservation practices that improve water quality and conserve its use. Farmers and ranchers recognize water as our Nation’s most precious resource. Every day, producers are stepping up to work hand-in-hand with NRCS to implement systems that conserve water and keep valuable nutrients on the field and out of local waterways.

NRCS Links & Resources

NRCS provides California’s farmers and ranchers with financial and technical assistance to voluntarily put conservation on the ground, not only helping the environment but also helping agricultural and ranching operations.

Getting Started with NRCS Technical and Finacial Assistance

To learn more about how NRCS might benefit your farming or ranching operation, use the resources listed above or contact your local Cal-West Rain salesperson in Kerman, Paso Robles, Hanford or Bakersfield for assistance.

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