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University of Idaho

Promoting Water Conservation Amoung West Central Minnesota Farmers

Grant Proposal for the Lindbergh Grant

April 4, 2013

Abstract Water is necessary for life, yet many regions of the world, including parts of the U.S., are facing water shortages and even water scarcity (Macedonio 2012). Changes in the hydrologic pattern as well as poor water management practices are fueling water scarcity problems around the world (UN 2012). Understanding how to better manage water supply in the U.S. will help conserve water resources. Agriculture accounts for 70 percent of water use in the U.S. (WBCSD 2006). Poor water management cannot solely be pinned on agriculture, but because agriculture consumes the majority of the water budget, it is one place to look for inefficiencies. Minnesota has about 2,000 farms that use irrigation to help promote crop yields. The majority of irrigation is used to produce corn and soybeans (USDA 2007). To better educate farmers in West Central Minnesota on water conservation, I purpose the development of a public service announcement. This public service announcement would not only educate farmers on water conservation but also provide information about new irrigation technologies that use recycled water and scientific studies that explore the effects different amounts of water have on crop yields. Narrative Importance Many areas in the world are facing water shortages and water crisis today, including parts of the U.S. Water use worldwide increased by six times between 1990 and 1995. This is much greater than the population growth. Approximately one third of the world population is living in areas with a water shortage. Over half of the population will live in areas of water crisis by 2025 if this trend continues (Macedonio 2012). Water covers about 75 percent of planet earth. Of all water, only about three percent is freshwater, of which 2.5 percent is frozen in the form of glaciers and snow. That

leaves about 0.5 percent of all the water in the world to provide for all the worlds total fresh water supply (WBCSD 2006). In the past 50 years, there has been an increase in demand for water and a decrease in the quality of water. Poor water management practices have contributed to the resulting water crisis. Without better water management, many countries will not be able to meet needs of human development, food security, energy security, and urban development in the near future (WPP 2011). Several drivers of water demand are food and agriculture, energy, industry, human population and ecosystems (UN 2012). Agriculture accounts for 70 percent of water use. Forty six million acres of land in the United States are irrigated (Michelsen 1999). Greywater (also known as recycled water) is increasingly being used for crop irrigation, which relieves some of the pressure on potable water. Diverting water being taken from water sensitive areas such as the prairie pothole region in West Central Minnesota can benefit the entire ecosystem in the region (WPP 2011). Irrigation systems dont require much modification to be able to use recycled water (WBCSD 2006). The U.S. has about two million farmers. Less than one percent of the U.S. population, about 960,000 people, claim farming as their primary occupation. Ninety percent of these farms are run by individuals or families. Six percent are run by partnerships and three percent are large corporate farms. About 40 percent of the farmers in the U.S. are age 55 and older (EPA 2012). The average age of the U.S. farmer increased from 55.3 in 2002 to 57.1 in 2007 While white males own and operate 83 percent of the nations farms, farmers in the U.S. are growing in diversity, most notably with the increasing number of female farm operators (USDA 2007). Of the 119,650 total farm operators in Minnesota (USDA 2007), less than three percent are age 34 and younger. Thirty six percent of the farmers who consider farming their primary occupation are 55 years old and older (USDA 2007). The agriculture and food industry is the second largest employer in Minnesota. However, only one-third of the states agriculture and food jobs are actually on-farm

jobs. Minnesota ranks seventh in farm exports in the United States. In 2002 454,850 acres in Minnesota were irrigated cropland. In 2007 that number rose to 506,357 acres. In 2007 2,918 farms in Minnesota were using irrigation. The majority of irrigated land is used for growing corn (250,000 acres). The second most irrigated crop is soybeans (92,000 acres). Corn and soybeans are also top crop items in Minnesota (USDA 2007). Methods and Analysis The goal of this proposal is to obtain funds to educate West Central Minnesota cropland farmers about water scarcity issues and to teach them how they can conserve water by modifying their farming practices. This campaign has both shortterm and long-term goals. Short-term goals are to increase understanding and awareness of water scarcity issues. Long-term goals are to increase water conservation. Funding will be used to directly support the achievement of the campaigns short-term goals. Farmers primary sources of information are news papers and magazines. Only 68 percent of farmers use social media, the main site being Facebook (Farm Journal Media 2011). Digital media and social media has been on the rise and will continue to grow, but the primary source of information for farmers continues to be agricultural magazines and newspapers. Agri Council stated that even in the future agricultural newspapers and magazines will continue to be leading sources of information for farmers. Ninety eight percent of farmers reported reading agricultural newspapers and magazines at least monthly in one survey, with80 percent of farmers reporting that they read local newspapers at least monthly (Agri Council 2012). To educate these farmers about water conservation, press releases will be sent to the Echo Press, Morris Sun Tribune, Pope County Tribune, Bemidji Pioneer, Newshopper, Chokio Review, Grant County Herald, Fergus Falls Daily Journal, Herman-

Hoffman Tribune, Ag Week, and Minnesota Farm Guide. Radio stations that will receive the awareness campaign are KJJK-FM, KLFN, KULO, and KXRA. These are radio stations that reach the West Central Minnesota population and air agricultural-news and market reports. The selected newspapers are local newspapers that are published and distributed in the West Central Minnesota area. Farming retailers are also a popular source of information for farmers (Agri Council 2012). Therefore, printed pamphlets will be produced and distributed through farm retailers and agricultural research companies. A professor from the Water Resource Center at the University of Minnesota be the spokesperson for this PSA campaign. Questionnaires to assess the impact of the PSA campaign on farmers knowledge of water resources will be mailed to farmers after the PSAs have aired for 6 months. Roughly 2,000 farmers operate in the West Central area so 2,000 questionnaires will be sent out. The questionnaires will contain questions asking farmers how the PSAs affected their knowledge of water resources and how that knowledge will affect their irrigation decisions in the future. The questionnaire responses will then be analyzed to assess farmers answers to the questions. Discussion Farmers are an important group to target because irrigation of croplands uses a large majority of water resources in the United States. Encouraging more effective crop irrigation or a reduction in crop irrigation could help conserve water. Farmers attitudes towards conservation are varied. There are many variables that affect how farmers value conservation. Some of these variables are: how it affects their quality of life, views of their responsibilities to nature, the quality of their land, family security, happiness, and capabilities (Lynne 1988). Because agriculture accounts for 70% of the U.S. water budget it is important to educate farmers that use irrigation on water resource issues and provide them with information on new technologies such as recycled water irrigation systems.

Although Minnesota is not yet a water scarce region, poor water management exacerbates changes in the hydrologic cycle that could lead to scarcity, even in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Encouraging farmers to better understand their role in protecting Minnesotas water resources is one step in the right direction for water conservation. Reference pages Agri Council. 2012 Media Channel Study. Web 12 March 2013. EPA.gov Ag 101 Demographics. 2012. Web 11 Feb 2013. Farm Journal Media. 2011 Social Media Survey. Web 12 March 2013. Lynne, G.D., J. S. Shonkwiler and Leandro R. Rola. Attitudes and Farmer Conservation Behavior. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Vol. 70, No. 1 (Feb., 1988), pp. 12-19. Web 12 March 2013. Macedonio, F; et al. Efficient technologies for worldwide clean water supply. Chemical Engineering and Processing: Process Intensification 2012, 51, 2-17. Web 11 Feb 2013. Michelsen, A.M., R.G. Taylor, R. Huffaker, J. McGuckin Emerging Agricultural Water Conservation Price Incentives. Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Vol. 24, No. 1 (July 1999), pp. 222- 238. Web 12 March 2013. UN-Water. Water Hazard Risks. 2012. Web 11 Feb 2013 USDA: National Agricultural Statistics Service. 2011 State Agriculture Overview: Minnesota. Web March 12, 2013. USDA Census of Agriculture. 2007 Census Volume 1, Chapter 1: State Level Data. Web March 12, 2013. USDA: National Agricultural Statistic Service. 2007 Census of Agriculture: Demographics. Web March 12, 2013. World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). Facts and trends in water. 2006. Web 11 Feb 2013. Water Partnership Program (WPP). Driving change in water: 2010 Annual report. The World Bank 2011. Web 11 Feb 2013.

Budget Element Copy writer for newspaper PSA Copy writer for radio PSA Spokes person for radio PSA PSA production Airing and publishing PSA Pitching PSA to radio stations Email audio PSA to radio stations Email press release to newspapers Producing 2,000 questionnaires Mailing out 2,000 questionnaires Hiring data analyst to assess questionnaires Travel expenses

Cost $30 an hour for 16 hours $30 an hour for 16 hours $30 an hour for 16 hours $150 an hour for 4 hours No charge $20 an hour for 16 hours No charge No charge $7.49 per 100 envelopes $7.29 per 500 pages 10 cents per page printing 46 cents a letter $40 an hour for 16 hours $200 Total amount of money required

Total Cost $480 $480 $480 $600 $0 $320 $0 $0 $380 $920 $640 $200 $4,500

Additional Information Resume Allyson Paradee Villard, MN 320-555-1234 para6958@vandals.uidaho.edu PROFILE: The skill set that I have gained and developed in my years of school and employment have prepared me for a variety of jobs in the science community. I can analyze protein content in soybeans, hemp seeds, or rice milk. I also have experience testing food-processing machinery for potential contaminants. I am equally prepared to set up a quadrat sampling design, take vegetation and soil samples, and statistically analyze plant communities prominence over the course of years in a prairie ecosystem.

EDUCATION: 2012-Present University of Idaho Masters of Science: Environmental Science Expected December 2014 University of Minnesota, Morris Bachelor of Arts: Biology, Environmental Studies May 2011


EMPLOYMENT: June, 2011November, 2011 SunOpta Food and Grain, Alexandria, Minnesota Worked in the quality control lab doing micro, fat, and protein analysis on food products such as soy, rice, and hemp milk, butter and cheese flavorings, and Tazo tea. Also did analysis on acidity and dextrose of products. Kept detailed records of product analysis, tested for production sanitation, and kept lab orderly. USDA ARS, Morris, Minnesota Interned with soil scientist Dr. Sharon Weyers. The effects of various types of farming on soil quality were examined by accounting for nitrogen and phosphorus. Established research plots at assorted locations, collected and processed soil and vegetation samples, extracted nitrogen and phosphorous, fumigated soil samples, worked independently on nitrogen

June, 2009June, 2011

projects, gathered rain data, sampled streams. Kept lab orderly and clean. Processed some data.