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2010 Irrigation Show features products, insights and awards

Irrigation Association Published on 03 January 2011
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The 2010 Irrigation Show brought 4,500 attendees and 295 exhibitors (more than half targeting the agricultural segment) to the Phoenix Convention Center, Dec. 5-7, 2010.

New agricultural features included an Ag Insights Track and the certified agriculture water manager program.

Ag industry professionals were honored in the New Product Contest, Irrigation Awards and Smart Marketing Contest.

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Several organizations and agricultural professionals were honored during the three-day event. Senninger Irrigation, Inc. won the New Product Contest for the agriculture category with their UP3 Universal Pivot Product Platform (pictured at left).

Among the Irrigation Association’s annual awards, the Industry Achievement Award was presented to Wendell Dorsett (pictured below right), a retired innovator and educator with 52 years of industry contributions.

 He holds five patents for industry equipment, including a low-silhouette engine cooling system that is standard in most combines today.

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More recently, he developed a patented system for center pivot distribution of wastewater with solids. Dorsett spent 35 years at Valmont Industries where he focused on irrigation efficiency, effectiveness and uniformity.

An active IA volunteer, he served on the certification board, wastewater resources committee, and the chemigation and center pivot common interest groups. Wendell also helped develop IA’s Center Pivot Design Manual and taught IA’s Center Pivot Design class.

John Busch (pictured below left) of Baker City, Oregon, now retired, was honored as Person of the Year for his 30 years as a professor and researcher and more recent work at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service.

At NRCS, he worked with growers throughout Oregon to design irrigation systems, develop water management plans, provide training on best practices, and create irrigation planning and design tools.

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As a licensed, professional engineer, Busch helped develop standards for sprinkler and surface irrigation through the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. Throughout his three decades at the University of Idaho, Busch researched improving irrigation management, and water and energy efficiency.

Education and certification were also draws for agricultural attendees, with several attendees taking the exam for the new certified agriculture water manager program.

IA’s seventh certification, the CAWM recognizes experience and excellence among industry professionals who evaluate, operate, manage and improve agricultural irrigation systems to achieve the highest possible level of water conservation.

Attendees also took exams for the certified agricultural irrigation specialist and the certified irrigation designer designations. CID professionals can qualify to be technical service providers for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

ASABE, as co-hosts with IA, presented its Fifth National Decennial Irrigation Conference comprised of more than 90 technical sessions. Held only once a decade, the National Irrigation Symposium highlighted research and case studies on irrigation technology and management in the U.S.

Topics included the Ogallala aquifer program; humid region applications; surface, center pivot and micro-irrigation; site-specific management; and remote sensing evapotranspiration.

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New to the show floor in 2010 was the Ag Insights Track, featuring four, 45-minute sessions focused on general and local water efficiency from the growers’ perspective. (Photos from the session pictured at right and below left.)

The first session, Water Law and Water-Use Efficiency, was hosted by Mark A. McGinnis, an attorney with Salmon, Lewis and Weldon, P.L.C.

His talk incorporated the relationship between agriculture irrigation, conservation and water-use efficiency as well as adopting efficient technology on the farm.

He also discussed how not all regulations can be considered effective, pointing to one in particular in Arizona that had failed to achieve high levels of water conservation.

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However, AnnaMarie Knorr felt that a water conservation tax credit in Arizona was working well for Arizona growers. Knorr is the Arizona Government Affairs Manager for Western Growers and hosted a session on stakeholder collaboration, discussing growers’ water priorities and how efficient irrigation fits into the picture of the many issues impacting specialty crop producers.

Farm Bill Specialist Steve Smarik, with the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, covered water-related Farm Bill programs such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program.

He also announced that energy conservation will now be included in NRCS’ body of work.

Finally, Robert D. von Bernuth, Professor Emeritus at Michigan State University, presented a more logistical view of irrigation, focused on maximizing profits by evaluating irrigation systems and design options.

The theory was based on effective, economic criteria, including service life, required maintenance costs and the cost of money.

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Capping off the show was the Irrigation Association’s General Session, led by incoming president Mark Huntley of John Deere Water and outgoing president Michael Harrington of HARCO Fittings.

Huntley highlighted IA’s achievements in the last year, including continued advocacy for full funding of EQIP and the Agricultural Water Enhancement Program, AWEP.

He also welcomed new additions to the IA’s 2010-2011 board of directors, which included Aric Olson from Jain Irrigation and John Vikupitz from Netafim USA.  FG

—Information and photos provided by Eva Hornak, Communications Manager, Irrigation Association