Kansas ag secretary to speak at NRD’s water conference

Full lineup of speakers planned for second annual event

    Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Jackie McClaskey, PhD, will be one of the featured speakers at the Upper Republican Natural Resources District (URNRD) second annual water conference in Imperial Monday.
    “H2Overview—Local to National Water Matters” serves as the theme for the March 27 conference. It will be held at the Chase County Fairgrounds Expo Building beginning at 9 a.m. The event is open to all and will include lunch.
    URNRD Assistant Manager Nate Jenkins said they are thrilled with the lineup of speakers. The speaker topics will range from legal to technical to policy.
    McClaskey took a lead role for Kansas in helping forge historic cooperative water agreements between her state and Nebraska and Colorado after many years of litigation.
    She will provide Kansas’ perspective on what these new agreements achieve and mean for Kansas’ water users.
    Jesse Bradley, assistant director of the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, will follow.
    Bradley will present Nebraska’s  perspective on what the breakthrough agreements mean for managing compact compliance efforts in the Republican Basin.
    These agreements and improved forecasting will provide more flexibility and greater certainty and predictability for producers in the basin.
    The days of Nebraska vs. Kansas and Kansas vs. Nebraska are over, Jenkins said.
    He said it’s a new era for water management between the states that takes a common sense approach and makes sense for both states.
    As he did at last year’s water conference, Assistant Attorney General Justin Lavene will brief attendees on recent Nebraska Supreme Court rulings on lawsuits in the basin as well as ongoing litigation.
    Lavene now serves as the bureau chief of the Nebraska Attorney General Office’s Bureau of Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources.
     Attorney General Doug Peterson created the bureau shortly after being elected.
    Nick Brozovic,  an associate professor of Agricultural Economics, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, will examine how other states manage water in comparison to the workings of Nebraska’s NRDs.
    Brozovic serves as director of policy for the Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute at the University of Nebraska.
    Professor Derrel Martin will address irrigation efficiency as it relates to the sustainability of water resources.
    Martin is professor of Biological Systems Engineering and Extension Specialist in Irrigation and Water Resources Engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
    Sen. Dan Hughes of Venango will brief the conference on related water legislation in the Nebraska Legislature.
    Andy Keep, NRCS district conservationist for Dundy, Chase and Perkins Counties, will update farmers on cost-share practices that can be implemented to make water use more efficient.
    The URNRD has been an active promoter of farmers using soil moisture probes as part of their water management toolbox.
    As a result, the NRD has invited soil probe vendors to set up booths and make presentations on their products, most of which qualify for cost-share programs.

Speaker schedule, topics

  • 9 a.m.—Jasper Fanning, PhD, Upper Republican NRD General Manager; welcome and overview.
  • 9:15 a.m.— Justin Lavene; Lawsuits and Legal Issues in the Republican Basin.
  • 10 a.m.—Nick Brozovic; What’s Bubbling Up in Water Management in States other than Nebraska?
  • 10:45 a.m.—Derrel Martin; Irrigation Efficiency vs. Sustainability – Confusing Productivity with Aquifer Life.
  • 11:30 a.m.— Jackie McClaskey; A New Path Forward – Kansas Perspective on Recent Compact Agreements.
  • 12:15 p.m.—lunch; Presentations from moisture probe vendors.
  • 1:30 p.m.—Jesse Bradley; Republican River Compact Breakthrough-Nebraska’s Perspective on Recent Compact Agreements with Kansas.
  • 2:15 p.m.—Sen. Dan Hughes; Capitol View of Natural Resources Issues.
  • 3 p.m.—Andy Keep; USDA/NRCS Water Efficiency Programs Overview.
     

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