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Water and drought research event is Oct. 6 on local farm

Montezuma Land Conservancy will present research on drought management at Fozzie’s Farm on Oct. 6.
Montezuma Land Conservancy conducting research at Fozzie’s Farm for past two years

Fozzie’s farm, an education center under Montezuma Land Conservancy, will host a water conference field day on Oct. 6 at 19760 Road W in Lewis.

The event will explore drought and irrigation in Montezuma County and will highlight how youths have been involved in local research and water education projects, said Jay Loschert, outreach and education coordinator for MLC.

Dec 3, 2021
Montezuma Land Conservancy awarded grant to study irrigation efficiency
Dec 3, 2021
Montezuma Land Conservancy awarded $355,000 in grants

“We will take tours of the farm while explaining our research projects and sharing what we have learned adapting the farm to drought conditions,” he said.

Agriculture presenters are from Colorado State University Southwestern Colorado. Research Center, Ute Farm and Ranch, High Desert Conservation District, Fort Lewis College, Southwest Open School and others.

The event is titled “The Future is Now, Preparing Tomorrow’s Water Leaders Amid Irrigation Supply Uncertainty.”

Southwest Open School students Justin Massey, Roman Montoya, Mark Bennett, Ashley Lopez and Aarron Trudeau did a trench for irrigation pipe at Fozzie’s Farm during a past project.

For the past two years, students and agricultural professionals at Fozzie’s Farm have teamed up to study best practices for irrigation in the drought-ridden Four Corners area. The first phase of the case study offers information for agriculture producers on drought management.

Another goal is to empower youths with scientific understanding so they can make objective decisions, Loschert said.

“Preparing for the future involves getting youth involved. In fact, it mandates it,” he said.

Young students have been gaining understanding of local watersheds and irrigation supplies. They have participated in the installation of scientific instruments at Fozzie’s Farm, collected soil samples for testing, measured forage production and determined species composition in test pastures.

Space is limited for the event. To RSVP email jay@montezumaland.org, call Jay Loschert at (970) 799-1475, or visit the event webpage at montezumaland.org.

The preliminary agenda is as follows.

  • 9-10 a.m.: Irrigation and Soil Health Research, Katie Russell and Emily Lockard of the CSU Southwestern Colorado Research Center on research methods and results, plus a walking tour and Q-and-A.
  • 10-10:30 a.m.: Soil and Water Conservation Practices, David Temple, High Desert Conservation District.
  • 10:45-11:15 a.m.: Colorado Hydrology, Gigi Richard, Four Corners Water Center, Fort Lewis College.
  • 11:15-11:45 a.m.: Water Information Program, Elaine Chick, Southwestern Water Conservation District.
  • 1-3 p.m.: Engaging the Next Generation of Water Leaders. Native American Agriculture Fund and Fort Lewis College presentation with Kathy Hilimire, Ana Henry, Elicia Whittlesey, Kayln Kervin and Kayla Yazzie. Plus Watershed Mapping and Modeling with Southwest Open School students, water education interns Gigi Powelson and AJ Saiz.
  • 3:15-3:45 p.m.: Drought impacts to production at Ute Farm and Ranch with Michael Vicenti.

The two-year water and drought research project at Fozzie’s Farm has been funded largely through grants from the Colorado Water Conservation Board and the local Southwest Basin Roundtable.

Local students learn about agriculture at Fozzie’s Farm in Lewis.