Drought, Water Solutions Discussed at Feb. 20 Outlook Forum

As the state bears yet another dry winter, Colorado’s foremost water, weather and agricultural experts will discuss the future of water management and the on-going impacts of drought at the annual Colorado Agricultural Outlook Forum Thursday, Feb. 20 at the Renaissance Denver Hotel, 3801 Quebec St.

The day-long forum will look at ways stakeholders can share water as well as specific water management strategies for irrigators, farmers and ranchers. The forum also will address protection approaches to preserve water for wildlife use as well as stress and conflict management.

"At no time in recent memory has the need for up-to-date information been so crucial for Colorado’s farmers and ranchers," said Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture Don Ament. "The industry must be innovative and responsive to changing circumstances as never before. To address these issues, the 2003 Colorado Agricultural Outlook Forum is designed to provide useful information and ideas to help farmers and ranchers weather the difficult times ahead."

The forum, centered on a theme of Weathering Tough Times Together, includes remarks from Colorado State President Albert C. Yates; a 2003 moisture outlook by Nolan Doesken, research climatologist at Colorado State University’s Colorado Climate Center;

discussion from regional representatives about how stakeholders can work together to solve Colorado’s water issues from Dave Little, manager of water resource planning at Denver Water, Eric Wilkinson, general manager of the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, and Reeves Brown, president of Club 20; and a keynote address by Ken Salazar, Colorado attorney general.

Small workshop sessions about water management and drought will address how irrigators can manage limited water supplies and precision agricultural techniques, such as the use of Global Positioning Satellites, for irrigation management; strategies for ranchers to preserve rangelands during a drought; water sharing strategies used on the South Platte River Basin and the Arkansas River Basin; wildlife habitat conservation and nature-based tourism; financial and risk management; and mediation and stress management skills.

The forum is sponsored by Colorado State University Cooperative Extension, Colorado Department of Agriculture and the Colorado Agricultural and Rural Leadership program.

Registration is $90 before Feb. 7 and $100 thereafter. Full-refund cancellations are accepted in writing until Feb. 1. Registration is available the morning of the event from 7:30 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. For more information or to register call 800-886-7683 or visit the forum’s Web site at www.coloradoagforum.com. A special room rate at the Renaissance Hotel is available to people who mention the forum and make room reservations by Feb. 12 at (800) 468-3571.