The western United States is in the midst of a growing water crisis. Extended drought and climate change are colliding with a booming population and a rising demand for food and fresh water. As more entities vie for this increasingly tenuous resource, water continues to be removed from farmland at rapid rates to feed growing urban centers. This threatens the viability of agricultural soils, farm businesses, and rural communities.
To address this growing crisis, NYFC is working across the West to protect water for agriculture and promote the good stewardship of that water. We are rallying young farmers and ranchers to advocate for their water needs and implement sound practices for conservation and resilience.
The voices of young farmers and ranchers are critical to building sustainable water policies and practices across the West and preserving family farming for generations to come. Join us today.
Western Water Bootcamps
NYFC’s Western Water Bootcamps provide young farmers and ranchers access to information, professional knowledge, and resources necessary to enter roles of water leadership. Together with partners, NYFC convenes local experts for half- to whole-day in-person workshops to explore topics on water law and policy, financing irrigation improvements, and what to know about water when looking for land. Bootcamp agendas are established collaboratively with local partners and can adapt to meet the needs of the community in which the Bootcamp is held. These events are open to the public. If you would like to help organize a Water Bootcamp in your community please email email@example.com.
Register for upcoming Water Bootcamps here.
Colorado River Basin Resources — An evolving list of Western water resources, including information on water law, administration and land and finance resources.
Colorado — Colorado-specific water resources, including past bootcamp materials and presentations.
New Mexico — New Mexico-specific water resources.
Past Workshop Resources — A complete listing of all past workshops. Go here to view and download materials from Water Bootcamp presenters. Organized by state.
We are currently working to schedule workshops in Arizona, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah and California. Please stay tuned!
Don’t see a workshop in your state? Please contact Kate@youngfarmers.org if you are interested in hosting a NYFC Water Bootcamp. (Our focus is currently on states in the Colorado River Basin, however if you are motivated to host a workshop elsewhere, please don’t hesitate to reach out.)
Conservation Generation Film
In 2016, NYFC produced a report and a short film, both titled Conservation Generation, that paint a picture of young farmers in the arid West, their approach to water, and the challenges they face.
In 2014, the National Young Farmers Coalition proudly announced the release of a short film, “Resilient: Soil, Water and the New Stewards of the American West.” Watch below. To learn more, click here.
Water Reports and Case Studies
This 2016 report paints a picture of young farmers in the arid West, their approach to water, and the challenges they face. The report is based on a survey of 379 young farmers in the arid West as well as conversations with eight farmer focus groups.
This 2015 report offers five case studies profiling producers across the Colorado River Basin and beyond who are adapting and even thriving in the drought. This report was created in partnership with the Family Farm Alliance.
This 2014 report profiles six farmers in the arid West who are creatively managing their water. These farmers adapt their business models to drier times; build soil for healthy land and water; increase irrigation efficiencies and technology; promote habitat and diversity; and invest in their communities. They offer tools to sustain farming in this arid region.