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State Program Offers Financial Aid To Colorado Farmers For Small Hydropower Projects

Small Potatoes Farm
Laura Palmisano
/
KVNF

The state is offering financial assistance to Colorado farmers looking to move away from using flood irrigation. 

The Colorado Department of Agriculture wants to help fund small hydropower projects. 

Sam Anderson, an energy specialist with the department, explains how the program works.

"This entails converting existing irrigated lands to pressurized irrigation such as a center pivot," Anderson says.  "It would include installing hydropower equipment to power that equipment or provide electricity to the grid that would offset their energy costs for their agricultural operations."

He says right now there’s $100,000 available for two projects, but more funding will be offered in the future.

"Our program has a budget of $3 million over the next four years," Anderson says. "And, we plan to do 30 of these projects. So on average there will be about $80,000 per project available to the farmers for technical assistance and financial assistance."

He says the goal of the program is to help farmers use water more efficiently and reduce their energy costs.

Earlier this year, the state received $1.8 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service for the initiative.

Anderson says people interested in applying should contact their local NRCS office. 

The deadline for applications for the first round of funding is Aug. 17th. 

Laura joined KVNF in 2014. She was the news director for two years and now works as a freelance reporter covering Colorado's Western Slope. Laura is an award-winning journalist with work recognized by the Society of Professional Journalists, Colorado Broadcasters Association, and RTDNA. In 2015, she was a fellow for the Institute for Justice & Journalism. Her fellowship project, a three-part series on the Karen refugee community in Delta, Colorado, received a regional Edward R. Murrow Award.
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