President's Column: Water, a Precious Kentucky Resource

Posted on Sep 10, 2019

As we approach another harvest, it goes without saying, our farm families have faced another tough growing season. We began with too much rainfall and ended with not enough. But, this weather-related scenario has caused hardships before and we do the best we can to face it whenever it may occur.

Farmers know they have no control over Mother Nature and we accept that. However, we do have control over on-farm processes that can help alleviate some of the pain caused when the growing season doesn’t quite go the way we’d like, especially from a water management perspective.

Supporting initiatives to manage our water resources is something Kentucky Farm Bureau has been involved in for many years and nothing is more valuable to us, as farmers, than our natural resources.

The efforts made by our Water Management Working Group (WMWG) have evolved into programs and regulations that have made this state a national leader in addressing water issues.

We are seeing more and more on-farm projects related to water management. From harvesting this most important resource to better methods of water distribution through our farming operations, we have made tremendous strides in making sure we utilize our water supplies to their maximum potential.

As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Agricultural Water Quality Act, and as we anticipate a new Waters of the United States rule being put into place, we must continue to advocate for water resource management initiatives at all levels.

We are fortunate to live in a state in which our government, research and commodity organizations work together to approach issues related to the farm. Water resources is just one of many instances in which we have all come together for the betterment of agriculture.

We need to continue to keep our eye on the end results when it comes to such on-farm projects and be willing to work in a cooperative manner. It’s much more important to get a positive solution to an issue than to get credit for any part we may have played in the process.

As we continue to deal with situations Mother Nature throws our way each year, it would be much easier to have a game plan in place and implemented, than to try and react once a situation occurs, whether the issue is water or anything else. Having as much knowledge about an issue before challenges arise, gives us a better chance to keep them at bay. We feel as though we have accomplished that through our water resource management efforts.

With the continued work being done by the WMWG, our Kentucky Water Resources Board, the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board, our Environment and Energy Cabinet, and a long list of legislative and commodity leaders, regular proactive steps are being made to better manage our water resources.

Above all, the better we handle water issues on the farm, the better the relationship between our urban and rural neighbors becomes. We all have a part to play when it comes to water resource management, whether we know it or not. Let’s remain diligent in our advocacy efforts for the benefit of all Kentuckians.

Mark Haney, President
Kentucky Farm Bureau