Our 2016 bloggers: Farming in the arid West

Young farmers and ranchers in the arid West contend with all of the challenges faced by farmers in other regions—high land prices, access to capital, and often student loan debt—but they also face an additional barrier: water access. In many parts of the country, all farmers have to do to “access” water is turn to the sky, but in the arid West, farmers and ranchers often depend on irrigation water from rivers, ditches and other bodies of water... Read More

New report: Innovation & stewardship in the arid West

Here’s a story you probably haven’t heard in the news: Family farmers are leading water conservation efforts in the West. Here are two examples. By building up the level of organic matter in the soil of their California farm, Paul and Elizabeth Kaiser (pictured above with their crew) have drastically cut their irrigation use while increasing their production seven fold compared to similar California farms. In Wyoming, ranchers Pat and Sharon... Read More

The West, water and you: Take our new survey

This year drought has gripped the West to a new extreme. But both young and seasoned farmers are forging new and innovative solutions, growing more food with less water while enhancing biodiversity, soil health, and their local communities. Yet despite this, too often young farmers are not engaged in shaping water policy. This means their values and their voices go unheard by policymakers. NYFC is changing that. As part of our ongoing work on water... Read More

NYFC Presents at Western Governors Association Drought Forum

Presenters at the 2014 WGA Drought Forum California State Capitol where the WGA Drought Forum was held National Young Farmers Coalition was invited to present during the Western Governors Association forum on “Drought Impacts and Solutions in the Agricultural Sector”. Many academics and water resource managers from California were in attendance along with several ranchers and farmers.  Jerry Brown, Governor of California and Nevada Governor Brian... Read More

Water Tour brings farmers together from across Southwest

Farmers of Southwest CO Young Farmers Chapter gather for a potluck and photo shoot for NYFC film “Resilient” Below average precipitation combined with warm and dry summers make it difficult for producers to grow enough to make a profit and forecasts of low precipitation patterns suggests this may be a new normal.  With water being a critical resource for managing a successful farm, drought resiliency is an important skill. This week... Read More

Water stewardship takes center stage on Colorado River Day

As news of the Wests’ staggering drought makes headlines nationwide, it can be difficult to look past the waves of dark red on the drought monitor.  Reports are rolling in on California farmers fallowing land due to lack of water, tumbleweed take-over, and western reservoirs dropping to their lowest levels in history. Read More  Read More

Farm Hack West Slope CO: Farmers build social and online tools to improve farm resilience in the arid West

Harrison Topp, farmer from Mancos, CO, and Daphne Yannakakis, farmer at Zyphros farm, talk irrigation hardware at Farm Hack West Slope Colorado. On the small-scale farm, the only guarantee is that there are no guarantees. This fact makes resiliency—the ability to recover from or adjust to misfortune or change—an essential trait, especially for small, young and beginning farmers. As we in the west face extended drought and increasing demand for... Read More

Protecting farms, ecosystems and rural economies priority in a changing West

Dep. of Interior Asst. Secretary for Water and Science Anne Castle In a piece released yesterday in the UT San Diego titled “Busting myths about water shortage,” Department of Interior Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Anne Castle emphasizes there is no single solution to bridging the water supply-demand gap we face in the west, but that we must take an integrated approach that does not sacrifice agriculture or the environment. “Retiring... Read More

From parched to flooded, farmers in the arid west are seeing it all

Lake Mead, the shrinking reservoir that feeds cities and agriculture in a hotter, drier west. Farmers have always dealt with extreme weather. We’re the first to feel the frosts in winter and the last to leave the field under the scorching sun of summer. Neither hail nor high winds mean a day off. But here in the west, in states like Colorado, weather is flip-flopping faster than politicians. Farms on Colorado’s Front Range have been ravaged by... Read More

NYFC to represent young farmers on multi-stakeholder group on water in the West

Horseshoe Bend on the Colorado River, a classic image of the lifeline to agriculture in the West.Image by Jim Fowler – © 2013 Open up your fridge and chances are you’ll find some of the Colorado River. Whether you’re in Florida, Wisconsin or California, or any state in between, you most likely rely on the Colorado River for part of your daily grub. Over 15% of our nation’s fruits and vegetables, much of our meat and the majority... Read More

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