Hydropower projects on farmland in Colorado, US, are in line for funding totaling US$1.2 million from the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) and the US Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

The departments released a call for applications last month to agricultural irrigators with appropriate hydropower resources. The closing date for applications was today.

“This program gives producers a way to cut their costs and use their resources efficiently. It’s about water quantity, water quality, and energy resources,” said Sam Anderson, CDA’s Energy Specialist, “We focus on helping farmers upgrade outdated and labor-intensive flood-irrigation systems to more efficient pressurized-irrigation systems using hydropower, or retrofit existing sprinkler systems with a hydropower component.”

 The funding is part of the NRCS Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). Within RCPP, the Colorado irrigation hydropower program provides funding to agricultural producers to help them add hydropower to new or existing irrigation systems.

 For example, past projects have helped farmers use irrigation water to generate electricity, offsetting some of the cost of power for those farms. Other projects have allowed farmers to run large center-pivot sprinkler systems on hydro-mechanical power without the need for any electricity.

 The overall hydro program is funded and assisted by 14 agencies and groups, collectively contributing $3 million to the effort for project funding and technical assistance for Colorado agricultural producers.

For more information, visit the Department of Agriculture’s ACRE3 hydropower website: www.colorado.gov/agconservation/hydro-navigation-guide.