What is the Colorado Master Irrigator Program?
Colorado Master Irrigator is a comprehensive educational course available for Republican River Basin irrigators.
Colorado Master Irrigator offers farmers and farm managers advanced training on conservation- and efficiency-oriented irrigation management practices and tools. This program is the product of efforts led by several local producers, district management representatives, and others. Colorado Master Irrigator is modeled on the award-winning Master Irrigator program created and run since 2016 by the North Plains Groundwater Conservation District in the Texas panhandle.
Topic experts from Colorado and adjacent Ogallala states, serve as instructors over the 32 hours of the program. Colorado Master Irrigator's interactive class format is designed to encourage peer-to-peer exchange among participants and instructors, helping forge useful contacts that graduates can reach out to after their participation in the program.
Colorado Master Irrigator's goal is to equip producers with the knowledge they need to evaluate the potential pros, cons, and costs of implementing different tools and strategies to improve water and energy use efficiency, energy, water conservation, soil health, and profitability on their operations.
Pre-registration for the 2021 program is now open!
See October 15, 2020 press release for more info.
Daran Rudnick from University of Nebraska-Lincoln, presenting on the economics of using soil moisture sensors.
11/20/19: CO Master Irrigator program awarded ~$150,000 grant from the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB)
Most of these funds will go directly to Colorado Master Irrigator graduates in the form of participation stipends of $1000-$2000.
In 2020, graduates were awarded $1250 upon successfully completing all expectations/assignments at the end of the program. These graduates are eligible to receive $250 each year for three years if they are willing to share how they have applied what they learned and used connections made through the program in terms of integrating water management strategies and tools on their operations.
This CWCB funding also lays the groundwork for Colorado Master Irrigator to be able to run for three years: 2020, 2021, and 2022.
Program graduates are offered other opportunities to stretch their participation stipends through additional discounts and financial assistance opportunities to support the adoption/integration of various tools and technologies made available through Colorado Master Irrigator partners and sponsors.
2021 Program Schedule
Due to the pandemic, CO Master Irrigator is working on developing a hybrid learning experience that combines in-person class time with online learning modules.
Finalized program dates (Jan/Feb 2021) and class locations will be posted soon!