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KayDee Gilkey Animas River Spill Affect on Region’s Ag
by KayDee Gilkey, click here for bio

Program: Colorado Ag Today
Date: August 14, 2015

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We’re speaking with Colorado State University Ag Economist Dr. James Pritchett about how the recent mine waste spill into the Animas River might affect agriculture along the river. He says the immediate concern would be for area farmers’ crops that were relying on either direct diversions from the river, canal that diverts off, or a tail-water pounds that they pump out of — they might have had water shut off to their crops for more than a week now.

Pritchett: “I think in general because the area that we are talking about is small - relative to the national markets are — the price impacts will be very slight. Because we will be able to get some farm commodities to that area if the ag products are used as inputs. For example, would be hay — if we have a shortage of hay because we weren't able to get water to the crop we wanted to — we will be able to bring hay from other areas; especially this year when there seems to be an abundance of it. So that is sort of the immediate impacts of it.”

Dr. Pritchett says that there might be some adverse affect on irrigation equipment with additional corrosion possibly taking place and that farmers and ranchers will have to examine that during their annual maintenance routine. He continues

Pritchett: “In terms of public perception of commodities crops coming out of there we may see a market effect associated with that, but I doubt that it will be long lasting or that it will be significant in the long run. So I see those as the primary ag economic impacts, which are small compared to the human health concerns but certainly something we will pay attention to.”

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