Apply Now for the Master Irrigator Program 2018

The North Plains Groundwater Conservation District is accepting applications beginning today for the Master Irrigator Program with funding through the USDA-NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

The program is an irrigation management curriculum made up of 24 hours of intensive irrigation education conducted over four one-day sessions. Master Irrigator trains farmers in advanced irrigation management and conservation practices that work together to save water, conserve energy and build healthy soil. Tommy Cartrite, 2017 Master Irrigator Graduate said, this is a “great class on irrigation practices with leading edge technology presented by top people in their field.”

Participants who complete the course and receive their Master Irrigator certification will have priority access to the designated North Plains GCD EQIP funding for financial assistance to implement water conservation practices on their operation. Perfect attendance is required for graduation from the course.

This year’s Master Irrigator Program meeting dates are March 21, March 28, April 4 and April 11.  Participants are required to attend all four sessions to qualify as a graduate of the program. The primary focus of the sessions will be on increasing understanding of, and proficiency with, the latest irrigation management tools, technologies and practices such as pivot conversions, variable frequency drives, conservation tillage, irrigation water management and more.

The training objectives are to prepare participants to know what tools and strategies are available for water savings, to understand how and why they work, and ultimately to choose and effectively apply them to maximize their return on investment for every drop of water they use. The Master Irrigator Program is designed to incentivize farmers to acquire this information and to apply it throughout their operations in a number of ways. “My primary role in our operation is risk management. In every session, I was able to identify key practices that will benefit our return on investment,” said one 2017 Master Irrigator Graduate.

Any irrigator can apply. However, registration will be limited to 25 participants, or until March 9, 2018. In the case that more than 25 applications are received by the registration deadline, successful applicants will be determined by the date of application and location of the operation.

For more information about the Master Irrigator program contact Kirk Welch at or go online to  For additional information about the EQIP program, contact your local NRCS office or access  USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.

Master Irrigator graduates learn about using drones to analyze crop conditions and assist in water management decisions.

Master Irrigator graduates learn about using drones to analyze crop conditions and assist in water management decisions.