Colorado River District to Host Water with Your Lunch: NextGen Ag

Technology and the Future of Family Farms on the West Slope  

Thank you to all panelists and attendees! If you would like to view the webinar, please visit our YouTube site here: Water With Your Lunch: NextGen Ag

 

Stay tuned for our next Water With Your Lunch this Winter, 2022.

 

Join the Colorado River District for a lunch-hour webinar focusing on West Slope agriculture and how the integration of new technologies, strategies, and infrastructure upgrades may secure a future for the next generation.

Colorado’s West Slope agriculture is one-of-a-kind. The food grown for people across the state and the nation is tended not by large corporate entities, but by small, multi-generational family farms and ranches. These local operations provide an economic backbone for communities across the Western Slope, but in a hotter, drier climate, they face staggering challenges. Water With Your Lunch: NextGen Ag continues the River District’s popular lunchtime webinar series with a panel of local farmers, ranchers, and scientists speaking to the integration of new technologies to enhance water use efficiency and how agricultural innovation may secure a future for the next generation.

Discussion topics will include innovative new technology for agricultural efficiency across different geographic regions of the West Slope; infrastructure investments and collaborative solutions for funding; the need for innovation and steps being taken to help small family operations survive a hotter, drier future; and how these advancements and new technologies can entice a younger generation.

The webinar will begin at noon and last for just over an hour. All registered attendees will receive a video recording of the event via email.

WWYL NextGen Ag Panelists include:

Paul Bruchez, Owner/operator of Reeder Creek Ranch, Grand County

Bruchez currently operates the family ranch near Kremmling with his brother and father. Paul and his family raise cattle and irrigate with water from the Colorado River, the Williams Fork River and Reeder Creek. Working in agriculture and being a fishing guide has given Paul a unique perspective on water resources. Paul is spearheaded a 12-mile restoration of the Colorado River with 12 landowners collaborating to sustain agriculture and the environmental health of the river. After participating with the Colorado Basin Implementation Plan, he was selected to be the voting Agriculture Representative to the Colorado Basin Roundtable in the spring of 2015. He serves as a Governor appointee to the InterBasin Compact Committee, is on the Board of Directors for the Colorado Water Trust, serves on the Grand County Open Lands, Rivers and Trails Advisory Committee and recently was honored with Water Education Colorado’s Emerging Leader award. 

Dr. Perry Cabot, Research Scientist and Extension Specialist, Colorado Water Institute, CSU Extension
and CSU Agricultural Experiment Station, Mesa County

Dr. Cabot received his Ph.D. in Agricultural Engineering and Land Resources from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his B.S. in Civil Engineering from Colorado State University. His research program focuses on innovative irrigation technologies, sustainable water resources management and crop consumptive use evaluation. He is the water resources specialist for CSU Extension and the Colorado Water Center in the Western Region of the state. He also leads the research and extension mission of the WCRC-Fruita in its role as the western CSU campus unit focused on water resources, integrated cropping systems and climate-smart agriculture.

Dan Keppen, Executive Director, Family Farm Alliance

Dan Keppen has 29 years’ experience in association management, water resources, power and environmental policy, facilities design, planning, economic analyses and contract administration in the public and private sectors. Since 1997, he has worked primarily in advocacy positions with the Northern California Water Association, and as executive director of the Klamath Water Users Association. He served one year as special assistant to the Director of the Bureau of Reclamation’s Mid-Pacific Region. Prior to that time, Mr. Keppen was a water resources engineer for Tehama County, California and a water resources engineering consultant in Portland, Oregon. He is a Registered Civil Engineer in California.

Mr. Keppen is a past board member of the Irrigation Association and Clean Water Alliance, former chair of the Klamath County Natural Resources Committee and past president of the Klamath County Chamber of Commerce. He is a Rotary Club Paul Harris (+8) Fellow and Senior Fellow of the American Leadership Forum of Oregon.

Dave ‘DK’ Kanzer, Director of Science and Interstate Matters, Colorado River District

After almost 30 years at the Colorado River District, and now as Director of Science and Interstate Matters, Kanzer has been developing and implementing agricultural technology-based improvements across the District, to meet the increasing water resource challenges facing more than 40 million people reliant on the Colorado River Basin.

Together with advancements in weather modification and in monitoring and assessment techniques, DK is leveraging technology to guard against water supply shortages for multiple beneficiaries, including agricultural, municipal, environmental, and recreational interests. Kanzer is a registered professional engineer in Colorado; he earned his Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Geological Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines.

Marielle Cowdin, Director of Public Relations, Colorado River District (Moderator)

Marielle Cowdin is the Director of Public Relations at the Colorado River District. After working in Oregon for 10 years around forest watershed issues, she returned to Colorado to join the River District in May 2021. She holds a master’s degree in Environmental Law & Policy from Lewis and Clark Law School and is passionate about the future of water in the West. 

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