Congressman Buck met with local farmers and ranchers this week to discuss his WATER Act as well as other issues facing the agricultural community.
Although most of the conversation circled around Buck’s WATER Act — which would allow irrigation and ditch companies to use revenue from non-members for infrastructure — the roundtable also explored problems caused by what many felt were burdensome government regulations.
Buck said he’s confident the bill, with its nonpartisan focus, has a good chance of passing quickly into law. Once it does, he said, it should help irrigation and ditch companies get more money to upgrade old and possibly outdated systems and infrastructure.
“We’re excited,” said Eaton farmer Lynn Fagerberg. “We’d like to get this done.”
Ranchers and farmers can’t compete with cities and towns out to buy farmland and dry it up for the water rights, said Wyoming and northern Colorado cattle farmer Gary Booth. If they can get the money to make upgrades that increase efficiency, maybe the extra water those efficiencies create could take away some of the demand that forces dry-up practices.
Those upgrades can cost a lot of money, though, said Windsor Farmer Ken Knievel. If the bill can help them get the money they need for upgrade, it could help a lot.
“This bill won’t fix everything,” Booth said. “It’ll be a good step.”
Buck said it reassured him to hear his efforts on the WATER Act were making progress in a direction farmers and ranchers felt would help. Meeting with his constituents, the people actually feeling the effects of congress and government, help give him the insight and ideas he uses in Washington, he said.
“The best ideas in Congress and the legislature come from this room,” Buck said.