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Water + Energy Progress
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Rachel Myslivy

Making progress with water and energy in agriculture

7 years ago | Jun 10, 2014
By: Rachel Myslivy, Program Director

Making progress with water + energy in agriculture

This July marks my two-year anniversary as program director with CEP.  I still remember how thrilled I was when Dorothy offered me the position.  After several years volunteering for environmental causes while working in academic research positions, I was simply elated to find a position where my skills and personal interests would align.  It is wonderful to wake up each morning excited to work on projects that make the world a better place. From the Wind Works for Kansas initiative to the Take Charge Challenge, our programs aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in policy and practice.  While all of our projects are fantastic, I am the most excited about Water + Energy Progress.


The recently released National Climate Assessment explains the anticipated effects of climate change on the Great Plains region in the following way: 


Rising temperatures are leading to increased demand for water and energy.  In parts of the region, this will constrain development, stress natural resources, and increase competition for water.  New agricultural practices will be needed to cope with changing conditions. 


Water + Energy Progress identifies successful innovations in energy efficiency and water conservation on Kansas farms and ranches.  We hope that sharing these home grown solutions and positive innovations will lead to increased adoption of water conservation, renewable energy, and energy efficiency in agriculture...all of which will help mitigate effects of climate change.  Improving water infiltration, adopting energy efficient practices, and managing for the extremes improve community resilience, food security, and water availability all while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  


In just a few weeks, we will reconvene the Water + Energy Progress Steering Committee to discuss the 2014 awards...and I can’t wait!  We have some strong nominations and I am already looking forward to getting some windshield time to visit the award winners and learn about the innovations that save water and energy in Kansas.  

The 2013 WEP Awards include nine producers using cover crops, no-till, intensive rotational grazing, solar pumping stations, subsurface drip irrigation, irrigation scheduling, and collaboration.   What will the 2014 awards bring?  We will just have to wait and see.  But one thing is certain, the producers who receive these awards will be recognized for their innovations that save water and energy and their and leadership in working towards a brighter future for all Kansans.  

Focusing on common sense, practical solutions that save resources while still maintaining profitability is a great way to make real and lasting changes.  While my family's small farm in Jefferson county is very different from those featured in the 2013 awards, we have changed many of our practices based off of the innovations I saw on those farms and ranches.  I hope that Water + Energy Progress provides inspiration and practical solutions for producers of all stripes all across the Heartland.  Stay tuned for updates on the 2014 awards.  In the meantime, bop on over to WaterAndEnergyProgress.org  to read about last year’s award winning farmers and ranchers, watch some great video footage of their farm or ranch tours, and read some of the guest blogs.  There are great things happening on Kansas farms and ranches...check it out and see!


Comments (1)

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