Irrigation Association Sends Delegation to Congress

The Irrigation Association's (IA) message that irrigation is part of the solution on water issues is beginning to resonate on Capitol Hill, the IA's legislative consultant said following two days of meetings between IA leaders and Washington officials.

Association members, including the IA executive committee, spent two days meeting with members of Congress, key staff members for the Senate and House Agricultural Committees, and officials from the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Department of Commerce.

"We were well received, and everyone we spoke with saw the IA as contributing positive solutions to water issues for agriculture and urban environments," said IA President Ken Mills.

David Crow, president of D.C. Legislative & Regulatory Services, which represents the IA in Washington, said the meetings were constructive, with IA leaders and lawmakers learning from each other.

"As water issues become more prominent, members of Congress are beginning to understand the message that irrigation is an important part of the solution in terms of providing water savings through increased efficiency," Crow said.

The delegation included Ken Mills, president, John Roberts, president-elect, Doug York, vice president, Stephen Smith, treasurer, David Zoldoske, past-president, Tom Kimmell, executive director, directors Mike Harrington, Mark Huntley and Rick Parod, and IA members James Brown, Phil Burkhart and David Truttmann.

Members discussed using the Environmental Quality Incentives Program to fund irrigation improvements as a means of mitigating drought, creating a water caucus in Congress and declaring July Smart Irrigation Month to raise awareness of efficient irrigation technology and practices.

The group met lawmakers from Minnesota, Oklahoma, California, Virginia, Nebraska, Georgia and Colorado.

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