LUBBOCK, Texas -- The High Plains Underground Water Conservation District has revised its agricultural water conservation equipment loan guidelines to make it easier for local producers to upgrade their partial dropline center pivot sprinkler systems to more efficient Low Energy Precision Application (LEPA) systems.
Under the revised guidelines, producers purchasing LEPA conversion kits for center pivot sprinkler systems are now able to secure a loan with an irrevocable letter of credit from a bank or an assignment of assets, such as a certificate of deposit or securities.
Loans for other agricultural water conservation equipment, such as surge valves, drip irrigation, and center pivot sprinklers, must be secured with a first lien on the equipment. Additional security for these loans must be provided with either a deed of trust giving the district a lien on land, an irrevocable letter of credit from a bank, or the assignment of liquid assets, such as a certificate of deposit.
"The 1998 drought made farmers aware that irrigation application efficiency is necessary if they are going to have profitable irrigated farm management in today's economy. By relaxing our guidelines just a little, we hope this will encourage producers to take advantage of the ag loan program to obtain the funding needed to convert their partial dropline center pivots to LEPA systems," said Board President James P. Mitchell of Wolfforth.
Partial dropline center pivot sprinkler systems apply groundwater to crops using spray nozzles located approximately four feet above the soil surface. They have an irrigation application efficiency of about 80 percent due to water losses caused by evaporation and wind drift.
Converting to a LEPA system improves irrigation application efficiencies. LEPA systems deliver water through drag hoses or drag socks that wet a narrow band of soil in the furrow in every other row of the crop. Furrow dikes are used to hold the irrigation water in place until it can soak into the soil. These systems are 95 to 98 percent efficient. The water district's low-interest agricultural water conservation equipment loans are limited to a maximum of 75 percent of the purchase cost of the equipment, plus installation, and exclude any portion of the cost of equipment cost-shared under federal programs. The current loan interest rate is 6.29 percent.
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