Funding available for agricultural hydropower projects

PROMO 660 x 440 Agriculture - Center Pivot Irrigation Field Yuma County - wikimedia - USDA NRCA - public domain
Published Wednesday, December 19, 2018

The Colorado Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service are seeking applicants for on-farm agricultural hydropower projects. The total amount of available assistance for this round is $1,300,000. The funding is available to Colorado agricultural irrigators with appropriate hydropower resources.

"This program gives producers a way to cut their costs and use their resources efficiently. It's about water quantity, water quality, and energy resources," said Sam Anderson, CDA's Energy Specialist, "We focus on helping farmers upgrade outdated and labor-intensive flood-irrigation systems to more efficient pressurized-irrigation systems using hydropower or retrofit existing sprinkler systems with a hydropower component." 

The funding is part of the NRCS Regional Conservation Partnership Program. Within RCPP, the Colorado irrigation hydropower program provides funding to agricultural producers to help them add hydropower to new or existing irrigation systems. 

Past projects have helped farmers use irrigation water to generate electricity, offsetting some of the cost of power for those farms. Other projects have allowed farmers to run large center-pivot sprinkler systems on hydro-mechanical power without the need for any electricity.

The overall hydro program is funded and assisted by 14 agencies and groups, collectively contributing $3 million to the effort for project funding and technical assistance for Colorado agricultural producers.

CDA is currently accepting applications for the next round of RCPP irrigation hydro projects. The application deadline is January 18, 2019.  Applicants must be eligible to receive funding from the NRCS EQIP program. For more information and to submit an application, visit the Colorado Department of Agriculture's ACRE3 hydropower website: www.colorado.gov/agconservation/hydro-navigation-guide.