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Greg Martin Legislative Ag Issues
by Greg Martin, click here for bio

Program: Colorado Ag Today
Date: February 02, 2015

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Legislative Ag Issues. I’m Greg Martin with Colorado Ag Today.

Water has become a major issue throughout a large portion of the west from Colorado to California. Nick Colglazier, Colorado Farm Bureau says it’s a hot topic in the legislature.

COLGLAZIER: We’re a fairly water deficient state and so as our population grows in the cities, they’re going to need more and more water and there’s only one place in Colorado where you can get it and that’s from agriculture. Currently we divert a little over 85% of the diversions in Colorado and that’s a fairly significant amount. So when a city needs water they can’t turn to an ocean, they can’t turn to water coming in from another state, they have to find it within Colorado.

Colglazier says that that means it’s being taken from ag.

COLGLAZIER: One of the things we are looking at is what we call flexible water markets. Right now, if you change the use of a water right, that use goes out of the farm forever. What we’re looking at is being able to let that farmer flex that use so that one year it can go to a city or a municipality or it can go to an industrial use like fracking and then the other times it can be used on the farm.

Water rights have always had a tremendous value in the western U.S.

COLGLAZIER: So a huge, huge change for our water policy in Colorado. But something that we see as a very beneficial thing for farmers, ranchers and the community that they have so that they may lose a little bit of water but they don’t lose all of it and dry up completely.

And that’s Colorado Ag Today. I’m Greg Martin, thanks for listening on the Ag Information Network of the West.

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