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Irrigation Nation – 360° | Watershed | PBS and NET Nebraska


RORIC PAULMAN:
Farmer are so innovative, they’re thinking about
what’s the next step and how we do this better, less expensive, less impactful on the environment. ♪ MUSIC ♪ (DOG BARKING) RORIC: You’re okay there. Roric Paulman, a producer
from southwest Nebraska. I’ve been involved in the
water issues of Nebraska for over twenty years ♪ MUSIC ♪ My grandfather came out and we actually were in
the Platte River valley. ♪ MUSIC ♪ We’re on the edge
of the Sandhills and so we’re in a sandy loam. We broke it out of sod and we planted corn
and pinto beans and wheat. Great for about any crop
you want to grow, from potatoes to edible beans
to popcorn, soy, canola. I mean it really is
a great environment. A great host
to grow crops in. ♪ MUSIC ♪ We’re in a
rain-deficit area. We don’t get a lot precip
during the growing season. Supplemental irrigation, whether it’s groundwater
or surface water diversion, is important to not
only grow the crop, but be able to
protect the investment that you have out here. We actually travel
in and out of every one of our
machines every day. There’s maintenance
that has to be done. There’s all kinds
of evaluation tools that you obviously want to
pay attention to to make sure that it’s operating
and functioning correctly. The panel’s
all computerized. I can access it
here at the well, or I can actually
access it from my phone or my laptop computer
or my desktop computer. I always do a visual inspection when we drive in and out. We’re looking for obvious leaks, we’re looking for
a nozzle plugged. We’re looking for
all kinds of things, and the number
one thing is, why are we here?
It’s the crop itself. ♪ MUSIC ♪ RORIC: It’s
a daily assessment. There’s no time that
we can just simply ignore what’s occuring
at the field level. So, besides every other activity that goes on on the farm, you have a huge
investment into this process and what it means
to your bottom line and your family
and your community. Irrigation is
a risk management tool. (LAUGHS) The further east you go
the more rain you get. The further west you go
the less rain, you have to have supplemental irrigation. That’s a risk
management tool. It’s a phenomenal tool. The beauty of some
of the aspects of the precision agriculture, we’re able to start measuring those pieces of the puzzle. To make better decisions on water and nutrient management. The fact that we can measure it and make actionable decisions out of that measurement
are incredible. I have to be a good steward
and be conservation-minded. I want to leave a legacy
of understanding and instill that
stewardship and conservation in my grandkids,
my great-grandkids and my own son. ♪ MUSIC ♪ RORIC: Some of the best water
in the world. Right there. ♪ MUSIC ♪

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