U.S. Water News Online
GREELEY, Colo. -- Officials with Colorado's two biggest
farm organizations say they will focus on water issues when the
Rep. Mary Hodge, D-Brighton, is expected to offer a bill that
would allow farmers to idle certain land and lease the water they
would use to irrigate that land to municipalities or other water
John Stencel, president of the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, and
Troy Bredenkamp, executive vice president of the Colorado Farm
Bureau, said they will watch the "fallowing" bill with interest.
"What she is doing is trying to come up with something that
everybody can live with," Stencel told the Greeley Tribune. "Our
concern is that, while a farmer may lease that water for three to 10
years, or what ever time period, he, or she, still retains ownership
of that water."
Another issue expected to play an important role for agricultural
interests is legislation intended to address damage caused by oil and
gas exploration, which is booming in Colorado and much of the West.
"That remains a concern for other agriculture groups as well,"
Bredenkamp said. "What is needed is a surface-use agreement between
the developer and the land owner that would include everything that
On renewable energy, both men said their organizations were
pleased with a federal mandate that 5 percent of the nation's fuel be
ethanol by 2007 and 10 percent by 2012. Stencel said that will
probably lead to rural development and there may be other renewable
energy bills that come out of the 2006 session.
Permits for hunters, including landowner vouchers, is an issue the
Farm Bureau is also interested in, Bredenkamp said.
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