The Texas Alliance for Water Conservation is working to help farmers utilize technology to conserve underground water. The TAWC project was made possible through a grant received by Texas Tech University from the Texas Water Development Board.
According to Rick Kellison, Texas Tech alumnus and TAWC project director, TAWC members are gaining recognition and raising awareness by holding meetings and field walks throughout the year. These events cater to producers but also involve many agricultural companies who help extend their reach.
“When we were trying to find a location for the Water College,” Kellison said, “we asked ourselves, ‘Where do we need to take people to help them most?’ In Lubbock, we could entice a larger audience from a larger area.”
On Jan. 18, the TAWC held their third annual meeting at the Lubbock Civic Center and attracted around 200 area farmers.
Kellison said the organization’s goal for these outreach efforts is to put technology in growers’ hands, do their best to support them through training and answering questions, and let them evaluate the value of these efforts to their farming operation. He said the producers keep detailed records for the TAWC and, in turn, they compile an economic analysis on each site involved in the project for the farmer.
“Helping doesn’t cost us anything,” Kellison said. “Just a little sweat. It’s a situation where there is no silver bullet and no one size fits all. Different producers have different comfort levels with technology.”
Glenn Schur, TAWC president, said they have some of the best raw data from different crop varieties.
“We’ve never gone in as a board and told the farmers they need to plant this or this,” Schur said. “Whatever they want to plant, we will look at it.”
Kellison said he believes the organization is making a significant impact and producers view the TAWC as an unbiased source of information.
“We are not pushing one technology over another one,” Kellison said. “We tell growers the difference in technologies, but we don’t tell them which one we think they should use or which we think is better. All we are trying to do is make producers aware that there are different technology’s there, and we believe regardless of what the farmer uses, as simple or as complicated as it can be, as long as they are using something to help them manage their water, it’s better than using nothing.”