Drought of 2021?

Thank you for taking the time to read through IAM’s summer newsletter. As you page through, I am sure you will notice a common topic. The topic of course is the drought many of us, if not all, are experiencing right now. Some are experiencing challenges we have not had to face before or were too young to remember.  Some have seen these challenges before, but haven’t had to face them in over 33 years. I was born in the spring of 1988, so I have zero memories of what that year was like. But throughout my life, it amazed me whenever the topic of drought got brought up, 1988 was always the year that was referenced and people remembered all of the challenges they experienced like it was yesterday. Now some may argue that this drought isn’t quite as intense as 1988, but I’m starting to understand how events like this can be remembered for so many years after the fact. It’s a very stressful time right now for all areas of agriculture but hopefully better days are ahead.

When it comes specifically to irrigation, I encourage everybody to continue to do their best with what they got. As always, continue to keep water conservation a top priority and know that as every day passes, we are one day closer to the finish line. If you do experience any issues, like a well interference complaint, don’t hesitate to reach out to myself or another board member and let us know about your situation.  We feel it is important that we aware of what’s going on in different parts of the state and if there is an opportunity for IAM to provide any assistance, we want to be able to do that.

As you can see on the front page, IAM suffered a major loss with the sad and tragic passing of Jim Anderson.  Jim and his family have been longtime supporters of IAM. In fact, Jim’s dad Jack was one of three individuals the formed IAM. Jim was a past president, the current vice president and was active on the board for many, many years. He was just such a strong advocate for all things irrigation. In my mind, Jim was one that really understood the true value of irrigation. He saw more than just the obvious value it brought to the farm, but the positive impact and value it had on the small communities and the business within that community. Jim was actually the one who first talked me into getting involved with IAM. He first asked if I would join the board of our local Bonanza Valley Association and shortly after that, he nominated me for a board member position at one of the annual meetings. After I was elected president, let’s just say, he didn’t have much of a choice when it came to accepting the position of vice president. You got me started in all of this, so you’re coming along for the ride buddy. All jokes a side, Jim was somebody I had a ton of respect for. His knowledge and experience was something I relied on heavily since I was young and inexperienced and our relationship grew from knowing who each other were into a true friendship in a short period of time. He will be greatly missed, but his legacy will live on.

The last thing I want to touch on is where IAM’s bill ended up at the end of the legislative session. Unfortunately, we were not able to get any of our legislative priorities passed. The bill was once again part the Senate Environment bill, which was then passed in the senate. From there, the bill ended up in conference committee similar to the 2019 session. The language was included right up until the very end, but certain events occurred that were out of our control and it was not able to advanced out of conference committee. Again, very unfortunate, but let’s just say it’s a very interesting time right now in St. Paul. I can assure thou, we are not giving up. IAM will continue to remain active by having conversations with key legislators, along with the DNR and we will be prepared again to introduce legislation when the 2021 session begins.  IAM is remaining active by hosting our annual legislative tour here in a couple of weeks. The event is taking place on August 11th and this year we will be touring Stoney Brook Farms near Foley Minnesota. More details are included in the newsletter so take a look at that and everybody is more than welcome to attend if your schedule allows.    

With that, I just want to say thank you for supporting IAM. We will continue to look after and protect your rights as irrigators. Everybody stay safe, stay cool and keep doing those rain dances.

Jake Wildman

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