Rep. Ken Buck talks water with local agriculture leaders in Windsor | MyWindsorNow.com

Rep. Ken Buck talks water with local agriculture leaders in Windsor

James Redmond
jredmond@greeleytribune.com

Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., leaned forward on Monday as he listened to a room of farmers, ranchers, cattlemen and members of the local agriculture industry share their thoughts, concerns and ideas.

About 25 people filled the small, cozy room at Pelican Lakes Country Club for the roundtable meeting set up by Buck and K·Coe Isom to discuss the agriculture industry in northern Colorado.

Although most of the conversation circled around Buck's WATER Act — which would allow irrigation and ditch companies to use revenue from non-members for infrastructure — the roundtable also explored problems caused by what many felt were burdensome government regulations.

Buck said he's confident the bill, with its nonpartisan focus, has a good chance of passing quickly into law. Once it does, he said, it should help irrigation and ditch companies get more money to upgrade old and possibly outdated systems and infrastructure.

"We're excited," said Eaton farmer Lynn Fagerberg. "We'd like to get this done."

Ranchers and farmers can't compete with cities and towns out to buy farmland and dry it up for the water rights, said Wyoming and northern Colorado cattle farmer Gary Booth. If they can get the money to make upgrades that increase efficiency, maybe the extra water those efficiencies create could take away some of the demand that forces dry-up practices.

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Those upgrades can cost a lot of money, though, said Windsor Farmer Ken Knievel. If the bill can help them get the money they need for upgrade, it could help a lot.

"This bill won't fix everything," Booth said. "It'll be a good step."

Buck said it reassured him to hear his efforts on the WATER Act were making progress in a direction farmers and ranchers felt would help. Meeting with his constituents, the people actually feeling the effects of congress and government, help give him the insight and ideas he uses in Washington, he said.

"The best ideas in Congress and the legislature come from this room," Buck said.

WATER Act

Late last month the WATER Act, House Resolution 4220, sponsored by Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., was voted out of committee by the House Ways and Means Committee.

The WATER Act Allows mutual water storage and delivery companies to maintain their nonprofit status, even if they receive more than 15 percent of their revenue from nonmembers, so long as the monies are reinvested into maintenance, operations and infrastructure improvements.

For more information about the WATER Act and Buck’s work on it, go online to: http://www.buck.house.gov/water-act.

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