February Updates from NPNRD

February Updates from NPNRD


Over the last several months, I have written about the different programs, projects, and partnerships the North Platte NRD provides to manage and protect our natural resources. Less visible to our constituents, is working with members of the Nebraska Legislature. During a regularly scheduled conference last week, members of my staff met with seven urban Senators to inform them about our District. They educated those senators on the differences in climate, precipitation, elevation and cropping across the state, and discussed the adversity that our producers face.

Compounding those issues and more important, NPNRD staff stressed the uniqueness of our water system in this District. Water from snowmelt in the Northern Colorado and Southern Wyoming mountains is captured and stored in various reservoirs on the North Platte River, and released and diverted into 26 different irrigation districts/canal companies in our District. As the water flows through the canals, a portion seeps into the ground, and that is where the District gets the majority of its ground water. Without our surface water canals, we would not have the ground water supply we have today, and conversely the ground water that is not consumptively used returns to the river and flows downstream. To a person, the senators were very interested in what we had to say, and we are going to work with them in the future to make sure the District's story gets heard back east.

These meetings help us to build and nurture relationships with policy makers that will only benefit us in the future. Unconventional coalitions with urban members will serve us well, just as long-term relationships with legislative staffers, many of whom are career people that work for multiple senators over time, will be beneficial to us in the future. Those relationships also allow us to provide information on legislation that can have an impact on our District. Another way we voice our opinions is to provide testimony on specific legislation. We currently have provided written testimony on three separate bills, and we plan on providing both oral and written testimony on additional bills this session. We want to make sure that the voices of our District are heard at the State Capitol, and invite you to share your thoughts or concerns on pending legislation as it comes up for hearing.

On another note, our annual Panhandle No-till Partnership Winter Conference will be February 26-27 at the Gering Civic Center. This year's conference will feature experienced no-till researchers, including Dietrich Kastens, Paul Jasa, Fail Fuller, Dr. Jonathan Lundgren, and a panel of local producers that will talk about the challenges and success of their no-till operations. Early registration fee is $90, and after February 18th, it will be $120. For more information, go to or contact your local NRD or NRCS office.

The conference is a cooperative effort between the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Panhandle Resources Conservation and Development, Inc. (RC&D), South Platte, North Platte and Upper Niobrara White Natural Resources Districts (NRDs). Funding is also provided by the Nebraska Environmental Trust, the Nebraska No-Till Cadre, University of Nebraska-Lincoln No-Till Education Fund along with sponsorship from Points West Community Bank and Insurance, Platte Valley Companies, Farm Credit Services, Stateline Bean Producers Cooperative, High Plains Journal, Green Cover Seed, Prairie States Seed, Shelbourne Reynolds, Ward Laboratories and Eco-Drip.

Lastly, we are still taking orders for our conservation tree program. For more information, go to or call the NPNRD office at (308) 632-2749.