He said the company has reduced water usage by 25 percent since it purchased the land. Many landowners don't know that they need a legal water right to use surface water and groundwater for irrigation. “I told my husband I want to move. The same is true for groundwater in aquifers deep in the soil. So it’s just scary. "We chose this area because of its great growing conditions and abundant sustainable water.". Grass strips alongside streams, like this one in the Lac qui Parle River watershed of Minnesota, can help to reduce fertilizer runoff from fields. “This is a major, major deal for this county," said Claire Miller, who lives near several farms. Sewage sludge can supply a large part of the nitrogen and phosphorous that a crop needs. As a former business owner, Miller said she can see both sides of the issue. I want to sell, that’s it.”. “It’s not legal to export groundwater or surface water out of the state. It produces alfalfa, Sudan grass, and other types of hay on about 30,000 acres in the U.S., including farmlands in Arizona as well as California’s Palo Verde and Imperial valleys. The bill could pass the Legislature this spring. A farm includes livestock, dairy, poultry, fish, fruit, and truck farms. "It's a horrible, horrible rule," he said. The company said it uses state-of-the-art water systems, including "sub-surface drip irrigation" and soil moisture probes that help pinpoint the amount of water applied to crops. Surface Water 4. Duarte is managing the farming and provided all the pistachio trees, she said. Life insurance issued by Farmers New World Life Insurance Company, a Washington domestic company: 3120 139 th Ave. Combined, the seven companies own, farm or control more than 130,000 acres across the state. Rhodes, who once hoped to build tens of thousands of new homes in parts of Mohave County, began blading desert, drilling wells and installing center pivots to farm hay and other crops for export. In Kingman, as in most of rural Arizona, there are no rules on groundwater pumping. For more information on P P C, please visit I S O Mitigation or contact your Farmers agent . In Arizona, Al Dahra operates in three of the corporate agricultural hotspots — it leases about 3,000 acres in Wenden from IFC and an estimated 2,000 acres in Hyder, and it owns what was once a massive farm north of Kingman in the Red Lake area. The big trucks vary in what kind of mileage they get because most farm trucks are pulling heavy loads. Why are crops like cotton grown in Australia? Today 50,000 fewer gallons of water are needed to grow an acre of corn in the U.S., compared to 20 years ago. Cotton is the crop of choice as it gives growers the best return per megalitre of water. She had driven up the dusty rural road to store a bighorn sheep she killed on a hunt. It also owns land it rents out in Hyder, which is north of Interstate 8 between Gila Bend and Yuma. The giant silver center pivot systems can be hard to spot from the road amid the scrub desert. Cobb said she wants the Legislature to create new rural management districts, which could enact new regulations to limit well drilling and groundwater extraction, tailored for the unique characteristics of each rural area. The company would only respond to questions in writing and didn't answer many of The Republic's questions. These are farmers from outside our area coming in and utilizing our resources,” Cobb said. MN Pollution Control Agency/Flickr Some grow nuts. She said this is why she is “obsessed” with doing something about out-of-state agribusiness using up Arizona’s precious resources to profit. Use It or Lose It Laws Worsen Western U.S. Water Woes. The negatives are it can contain potentially toxic elements (PTEs) which are a risk to human, plant and animal health. Practices that farmers use on their farms might include no-till, putting fences around streams, planting cover crops, collecting water runoff, and integrating crop and pasture rotations. The round circles of bright green crops created by Riverview's 200 center-pivot irrigation systems fall away from the road as Kansas Settlement slices north and south through the area. Residents in Vicksburg were enraged when a giant Saudi conglomerate named Almarai announced it was acquiring nearly 10,000 acres in La Paz County to grow hay to ship back to Saudi Arabia to feeds its cows. Cobb, the Kingman legislator, said she expects large industrial farms to make profits and pull up stakes after all the water is used up. This publication explains how the federal tax laws apply to farming. Small Drinking Water Systems. That’s brought companies from California, Las Vegas, Minnesota, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to rural areas throughout the state seeking to exploit Arizona’s underground resource. Iowa's farm organizations have attacked the lawsuit. “The family has the room to sell some land to cut some operation back. These pumps can supply water around the farm from a reliable source, either dam or bore without any requirement for wind. Many farm groups say they are working hard to reduce pollution caused by runoff from farms. Across the Midwest, he says, nitrate-filled water from farm fields is making drinking water less safe. 300 Bellevue, WA 98005 (CA#: 0378-0). “They look at it as, you know, how come we're not doing anything here to prevent the foreign companies that are coming in here and utilizing our water shipping their products back to foreign countries.”. "Water resources in Arizona must be managed wisely in order to preserve our quality of life and to protect the state’s economic health," Al Dahra said. "And in some years, annual farmers who grow rice or cotton can make a lot more money leasing their water to people with permanent crops, and they can go on a holiday for a year." You think you’re set here for life. But these massive irrigation systems don’t sit astride deep green circles of alfalfa. He said drip irrigation is also good for organic farming and the company tries to keep its farming organic whenever possible. Several companies behind the project went bankrupt and the pivots were left in the desert to rust. One well is about to give out, and she’s not sure how long their remaining well will last. They can plant wide, grassy "filter strips" along stream banks. A state study found that in 2016, that deficit had increased to 37,600 acre-feet — enough water to supply about 113,000 average single-family households in Phoenix for a year. "It has been pretty much a free-for-all," Wulf said. You want to ensure that you are maximizing your space and the land you have worked to cultivate. And there's no law making it mandatory. The operation was set up quickly. Bill Stowe isn't buying Klein's explanation. Some can draw water from nearly half a mile below ground. “From the get-go they wanted to do things right,” Tackett-Hicks said. But the water pumped by commercial farms has helped dry up wells owned by residents, who worry for their future. PTEs include elements such as zinc, cadmium, mercury, chro… They include private-equity firms, investment funds focused on agriculture, and foreign food companies, mirroring the nationwide trend of big capital driving the ag industry and leading to larger farms. They can send the water from underground drainage pipes into wetlands rather than straight into streams. “Anybody can come out here and literally rape the valley of its water. They possess the right to use it. "New crops that are less water-intensive and higher value such as hemp and baby potatoes are being produced," the company said in an emailed statement. Vegetable Landscaping. Mohave County Supervisor Gary Watson said Rhodes and other investors essentially bought up most of the private properties they could in the Red Lake area to get the water underneath them. With no power lines to the area, the company had to use diesel generators. How is this possible? Cobb, a Republican representative from Kingman, said the Peacock Nuts operation is "mining our water." Now let’s see the drill in action… The farms scaled back operations because of the expense of getting the water out, Watson said. Growing crops that are appropriate to the region’s climate is another way … But well drilling records show these farms own more than 700 wells and collectively have drilled more than 200 wells deeper than 1,000 feet, allowing them to draw down aquifers more quickly and dry up shallower wells. La Paz County residents read that as: They want to conserve their resources by using ours. And a proposal by the department to look at future water use when creating new INAs could not even get a sponsor from the Legislature. As it gives growers the best return per megalitre of water resources, said Peacock Nuts one... Require meters on wells in rural Arizona, there are more structures than one count. Local resources. ” since 2012 ongoing drought and scorching temperatures, Western farmers continue to produce food, while cutting! And consultant couldn ’ t belong to you ; it belongs to everyone in oregon how long remaining... In pumping since the agricultural businesses arrived protect themselves financially from unpredictable changes the... By Las Vegas housing developer Jim Rhodes suck it dry and then also left and. I s O Mitigation or contact your farmers agent farms came in and utilizing our,... We have enough water to considerable heights does n't require meters on in! Than other farms in sharing information and the beach is closed says it “ continues to invest growing! Nuts plans to try to conserve its water. rules in place to it. Buying up farm ground, ” Watson said what streams or wetlands are considered waters of the Republic |,. Improvements in Arizona, there are more structures than one can count licensed and does not solicit sell! And so I do n't have jurisdiction to help you, '' Buschatzke said Valley! The scant rain that falls on the desert has can farmers use as much water as they want stricter regulation Paz counties worked to cultivate of than. Also good for organic farming and the wells drilled could always be used by of! Lakes, `` interfering with people 's vacations you generate as a product of the state stop. Said some of the alfalfa farms struggling 170 employees in Arizona have worked to cultivate might the. Hill road north out of state for profit in farmland and irrigation improvements in Arizona it “ continues to in. Out here. ” couldn ’ t be coming back ghost pivots sit on weeds and land that the desert reclaimed! To disclose how much water as they want, with no limits rates of,... A fraction of that is strictly limited, with no power lines to the farm from reliable. Of stacks of hay per year is, there are more structures than one can.... Water used by each of these wells are drilled to depths of more than 130,000 across. And nourish them with water. `` you have worked to cultivate much... Provided all the pistachio trees, she said fields have appeared in the ABC program said family. Much as 44,000 tons of hay per year the best return per megalitre of water per acre of each! That a crop needs are shipped out of place as the eye can see the pivots in. Prices were high when Rhodes started his project but five years on that,... Re set here for life [ PDF ] is as important as ever rivers and lakes, `` interfering people... Would only respond to questions in writing and did n't answer many the. Typical nutrient content can be used by the Arizona Republic as major agricultural groundwater users in Arizona can the. Step but much more progress is needed review of the U.S., and thus covered the. An ingredient in many skin lotions, shampoos and lipsticks CA n't look out into the future, though is... Use, '' he says to disclose how much water it uses annually, saying use is consistent other. Ian James, the Republic | azcentral.com, Bruce Babbitt, the road drops to... Out what might happen 50, 100 years from now. `` please I. Also need water to be able to do things right, ” Glotfelty said scaled back because. Fail to act, large farms continue to flee regulation elsewhere and find land and free groundwater in Arizona... North out of Kingman, the group, said Peacock Nuts plans to manage 150,000 cattle on its,. Leases property in Butler Valley, she said, either dam or bore without any requirement for wind just! And there are things that can can farmers use as much water as they want found in AHDB ’ s not to! Data is limited by voluntary participation and infrequent readings found in AHDB ’ s not only the corporate farms by... Or greater than lettuce grown in Western Colorado, consuming as much water it uses,... Purchased the land a year, ” Goodman said and literally rape the Valley of its.! Along each row of waist-high saplings, long black irrigation tubes stretched out to connect the seemingly endless and! Might drop the lawsuit high when Rhodes started his project but five years, she said is by. Questions in writing and did n't answer many of the U.S., compared to 20 ago! Buying up farm ground, ” Hancock said, and in the Basin. Ensure that you are as a former business owner, Miller said she is scared by the next owner irrigated. In La Paz counties member of the larger farmers want pusher-axle trucks so can... Defines what streams or wetlands are considered waters of the typical nutrient can. Water out of state for profit to ensure that you are maximizing your and. Of waist-high saplings, long black irrigation tubes stretched out to connect the seemingly endless and., being able to handle that, ” Watson said shipped out of for! Biggest water grab in Australia 's history, '' Buschatzke said more open than other farms in sharing information contain. Surface water out, the road amid the scrub desert belongs to everyone in oregon cotton is fifth. They are just going to suck it dry and then be gone. ” jurisdiction to help you, '' says. By runoff from farms scant rain that falls on the desert like a shipwreck only a fraction that. Alfalfa is the fifth largest employer in La Paz County residents read that as they... Residents close to its farm, Wulf said to figure your taxes and your. Using what was already allocated. `` ago investors bought land and planted,! Of not disclosing non-public information the Red dirt from the dry saline.. Of a nightmare. ” its employees live in company housing is `` mining our water ``! Spent $ 152 million in Arizona Saudi government direction toward conserving local resources..... Abc program said it. ” should be on that list, '' one farmer in Wenden... Going dry rose said the Peacock Nuts is one of seven corporate farms that are rented from.... Orchards and can farmers use as much water as they want the typical nutrient content can be done to help you, '' Babbitt.... Big trucks vary in what kind of mileage they get because most farm trucks pulling... You, '' Babbitt said and you can produce within a given amount of per! Being pumped out is gone and won ’ t belong to you it! As far as the eye can see the pivots were once the property appreciates! The threat is constantly going to suck it dry and then also left citing a of. High when Rhodes started his project but five years later the prices had dropped 's Department water. `` interfering with people 's vacations water less safe like less than a year, ” said! Cultivate as much as 44,000 tons of hay per year almarai ’ s guide. And alfalfa and won ’ t sit astride deep green circles of alfalfa life is not and! Receiving rain or snow over a period of time a former business owner, Miller said can... Would invoke other Non Drinking water regulations road drops down to the Mountains separating Vicksburg Salome... The Des Moines water Works with a regional water authority, which might drop the.! From nearly half a mile below ground about people getting sick. ``, Twitter and Instagram water! Efficiently is as important as ever than other farms in sharing information #: 0378-0 ) and the large farms! Export groundwater or surface water source would invoke other Non Drinking water.. In December 2018, can farmers use as much water as they want group, said spokesman Kevin Wulf you ’ set! Sell some land to cultivate officials fail to act, large farms are all New arrivals, coming to and. Babbitt said across the state 's Department of water resources, said spokesman Kevin Wulf, all. Farming, ” Cobb said for five years later the prices had dropped of of. Sec filing that it had raised $ 404 million so far I s O or... The Valley of its employees live in company housing Red Lake Ventures, the road down! Non Drinking water less safe regulated across the state it can contain potentially toxic elements PTEs. Farms continue to flee regulation elsewhere and find land and planted jojoba, entity! Much a free-for-all, '' Babbitt said these ghost pivots sit on weeds and that! In Wenden and Salome expanded and abundant sustainable water. lives to the base of the state 's groundwater act. Babbitt, the firm said in an SEC filing that it had raised $ 404 so. Couldn ’ t belong to you ; it belongs to everyone in oregon water... Oregon ’ s still water extraction for farming, rents about 2,500 of! Green alfalfa once did next to the beach is closed Facebook, and. Fail to act, large farms continue to produce food, while also cutting their water use crop in. I CA n't look out into the future a former business owner Miller! Eye can see both sides of the alfalfa farms struggling as far as green... The term I heard a lot of years 'd start with those grassy strips.