Bennet, Gardner Tour USDA Limited Irrigation Research Farm

Water-Saving Agricultural Research Critical for Colorado

Greeley, CO - Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) today toured the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agriculture Research Service (ARS) Limited Irrigation Research Farm (LIRF). During the tour, the Senators visited a series of plots used to experiment with different irrigation methods and participated in a demonstration of how drones are used to evaluate crop health.

"Given Colorado's semi-arid and changing climate, growing demand for water, and persistent drought, water conservation is increasingly important," Bennet said. "The research Senator Gardner and I saw today in Greeley is making it possible to improve crop yields with more efficient water use. It is an important example of federal investment supporting farmers in Colorado and across the country. Unfortunately, President Trump's proposed cuts to agricultural research are out of step with Colorado's priorities, and I will continue to stand up for our agricultural economy."

"It was great to be in Greeley with Senator Bennet to see firsthand another example of how we can use modern technology to help Colorado's agriculture industry," Gardner said. "As a member of the Aviation Subcommittee in the Senate, I've been working to advance legislation that will integrate Unmanned Aerial Systems into our airspace so they can be used in a variety of ways, including agriculture. Additionally, I've been a proud supporter of the Agricultural Research Service and the work being done throughout Colorado to improve crop production while conserving water."

The 50-acre Limited Irrigation Research Farm, owned by Colorado State University and leased to USDA, is the site of research on the production of corn and sunflowers using various irrigation methods and levels. The research aims to determine the proper balance of using less water while still resulting in high yields-a crucial practice for semi-arid regions in the West that face growing urban demand for water. LIFR has recently enlisted drone technology to more precisely analyze crops.