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Sustainable Agriculture in Arizona – Every Drop Counts

The Verde Valley is home to the 600 acer Hauser & Hauser Farm. The Hauser family began farming the land in the 1960’s. Zach Hauser stands on land freshly planted with sweet corn, one of the things the farm is known for. He knows the Verde River is the only water supply for the farm. The river and the good climate make the Verde Valley a great place to grow corn. Recognizing the importance of the Verde River in meeting the needs for his farm, as well as the community, Hauser is involved in keeping the river flowing and conserving the resource.

Sustainable agriculture in Arizona is important both as a food source and as a major economic contributor. About 70% of Arizona’s water needs go to farming. Working to make the use of water for farming more efficient translates to big savings.

Kim Schonek, NCA, explains the dilemma of taking water from the Verde River and delivering it to the farms in an efficient way. Technology is being used to operate a head gate to channel water to the farms in a controlled way to supply what is needed without wasting water. The result is to leave more water in the river for fish and wildlife while still meeting the needs of agriculture in the Verde Valley.

The Hauser farm uses flood irrigation to supply the needs of the farm but, along with the help of NCA, they are exploring the possibility of a drip irrigation system on six acres of the farm to see if it will be more efficient. Hauser is committed to having a sustaining farm for years to come and recognizes the importance of making the most of the water in the Verde River.

The Nature Conservancy in Arizona works hand in hand with agriculture, conservation and municipalities in finding solutions to Arizona’s water needs. While it might not always be easy, coming together to find solutions is a powerful tool when all concerned groups work together.