Master Irrigator Program Wins Texas Environmental Excellence Award
Media Contact: Kirk Welch, 806-935-6401 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The North Plains Groundwater Conservation District’s Master Irrigator Program has been awarded the highest environmental honor in the state, the Texas Environmental Excellence Award (TEEA) The Master Irrigator Program was designed to teach producers irrigation management and conservation practices to save water, conserve energy, build soil health, and enhance their own profitability. With over 127,000 acres of irrigated cropland influenced by 48 program graduates, the impact of the program has garnered statewide attention.
Organized by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), the TEEA is an annual awards program, recognizing achievements in environmental preservation and protection since 1993. North Plains Groundwater Conservation District (NPGCD) previously won the award in 2012 for the innovative “200-12” agricultural demonstration in which 200 bushels of corn were grown with only 12 inches of irrigation. There are nine categories in the TEEA competition, and both of NPGCD’s awards have been recognized in the agriculture category. The TCEQ will celebrate the 2018 award winners at a banquet on May 16, 2018.
NPGCD’s Master Irrigator Program equips participants to be better stewards of the water and the land. The curriculum covers topics such as pivot monitoring and control, advanced irrigation scheduling, high efficiency irrigation systems, and conservation tillage practices. All the courses are designed to help participants use less water and to maximize their return on investment for every drop of water they use.
Through an agreement with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, participants who complete the course, and receive their Master Irrigator Certificate, have priority access to the NPGCD Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) cost-share fund. This fund provides producers with financial resources to implement practices they learn during the program. Master Irrigators from the 2016 and 2017 classes have contracts for almost $800,000 worth of conservation equipment through EQIP.
The 2018 class of Master Irrigators began classes on March 21, 2018. After four days of intensive irrigation education, 23 new Master Irrigators will lead the way in saving water through agricultural conservation practices.
North Plains Groundwater Conservation District is a regional conservation entity authorized by the Texas Legislature, and dedicated to maintaining our way of life through conservation, protection, and preservation of our groundwater resources. The district is governed by an elected Board of Directors representing the area it serves – Dallam, Sherman, Hansford, Ochiltree, Lipscomb, Hartley, Moore, and Hutchinson counties. For aquifer information, interactive maps, and conservation education, please visit www.northplainsgcd.org.