Daily Archives: August 31, 2012

Governor pleads to conserve Ogallala

By Mike Corn

Hays Daily News

Conserving water and extending the life of the Ogallala Aquifer is a “moral responsibility,” Hoxie Feedyard manager Scott Foote told irrigators.

“If we do nothing, we know exactly where we’re going,” he said. “It’s our moral responsibility, and we owe it to our families. We need to do something.”

Foote’s message came in the final moments of the first of two meetings on the future of the Ogallala, gatherings organized by Governor Sam Brownback as part of his initiative on conserving and extending the life of the aquifer, the driving force behind the economy in the western third of the state.

The meeting in Scott City was the most direct push for conservation in the year since Brownback called a summit in Colby to talk about water use from the Ogallala Aquifer for irrigation.

It’s likely Foote’s words will carry weight.

He and other water users in western Sheridan County are asking to voluntarily cut water use by approximately 20 percent through a new program OK’d by the Kansas Legislature this year. The first of two hearings on that request will be Sept. 13 in Hoxie.

As well, Hoxie Feedyard is perhaps the biggest driving force of the Sheridan County economy, and Foote’s family now owns Lane County Feeders, located north of Dighton, and Pioneer Feedyard in Oakley, buying corn and feed from area farmers.

“We hope you do something too,” he said of conserving water.

Foote’s comments came after Brownback was asked if the state would force irrigators to conserve if they don’t take it upon themselves.

“I don’t have a plan to take it from you,” Gov. Sam Brownback said of water rights held by irrigators. “We don’t have the money to buy it.”

He did, however, offer state resources — in terms of computer modeling or economic analysis — so farmers can see what the future might hold if they conserve.

“We can provide the technical expertise,” Brownback said.

Kansas Geological Survey groundwater guru Brownie Wilson showed a model suggesting the life of wells could be extended by more than 20 years simply by reducing water use by 30 percent.

Marienthal irrigator Greg Graff — president of the Scott City-based Groundwater Management District No. 1 and a member of the Ogallala Aquifer Advisory Committee — said farmers can do nothing.

“We’ll get to the point where we’ll still have drinking water, but most of the irrigation will be gone,” Graff said. “The question is how quickly do you want to do that?”

Graff said the district he heads up is watching closely the conservation plan now under way in Sheridan County and is looking at similar scenarios in its district, either across the entire GMD or in particular areas.

Water, Brownback said, will be worth more in 20 years than it is now.

“That’s why we’re pleading with you, start the process,” he said of conserving water. “Take all the time you need. It’s a moral obligation. I’m not going to do it. It’s a local issue.”

Brownback said the meeting and the push for conservation has been prompted by past experience.

“The path we’re on ends poorly,” he said. “And we know it.”

Wild Turkey Federation State Youth Camp Sept. 15-16

At two-day event, kids can camp out and learn archery, shotgun shooting, crafts, more

The National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) will hold its 2012 NWTF Kansas State JAKES Camp for youth on Sept. 15-16 at Camp Alexander, near Emporia. JAKES stand for Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics and Sportsmanship, and the acronym is also a common name for young male wild turkeys.

The cost of this event is $20 for JAKES members, $30 for non-JAKES members, and $20 for adults. Youth 17 years old and younger get to select from 15 activities in which to participate, including fishing, first aid in the field, air rifle, small game animals, arts and crafts, nature hikes and birding, firearms handling and safety, shotgun live fire, turkey calling, archery, sporting dogs, GPS, JAKES Take Aim range, and game calling.

Ralph Duren, two-time Grand National turkey calling champion, will present “Calls of the Wild” and will entertain campers later around the campfire Saturday night. Youth attending can participate in the 3rd Annual NWTFKansas State youth turkey calling contest Saturday evening.

Attendees may choose to tent camp Saturday night or commute. Top-notch meals will be provided both days. Last year’s Kansas State JAKES Camp was awarded the NWTF “Best State JAKES Event” at this year’s NWTF National Convention in NashvilleTenn.

For more information or a registration form, contact Gib Rhodes at 620-437-2012.

20th Annual Kinsley Gun Club Kids Klassic Sept. 15

Awards await young shooters; registration deadline Sept. 10

On Saturday, Sept. 17, the Kinsley Gun Club will host its 19th Annual Kids Klassic trap shooting tournament for young shooters. Each youngster will fire at 100 targets. A $25 entry fee will include a custom T-shirt, lunch, and a chance to win a door prize, including three guns. The entry fee does not include shells.

This event is open to all youngsters through high school. Shooters will compete for trophies, Olympic-style medals, shotgun shells, and other prizes in four age groups for individuals and five-person teams. Ten $100 savings bonds will be awarded by drawing, so everyone has a chance to win. Other awards include 29 flats of shotgun shells and 36 trophies for four age groups, with special awards to 4-H members. The top three five-shooter teams earn trophies and shells. A trophy and prize will be reserved for the top girl shooter, as well.

The shoot starts at the Dodge City Gun club with 50 16-yard targets, then moves to Kinsley for lunch, 50 handicap targets, and the prize presentation.

While everyone high school age and younger is welcome to attend, participants who enter must be strong enough to handle a shotgun safely and are expected to know the basic rules and etiquette of trapshooting. The shoot is not for beginners.

The registration deadline for the event is Sept. 10. Entries (including T-shirt sizes and number of adults for lunch) should be provided in advance. To enter, receive an official program, receive more information, or find out where to practice close to home, phone toll free at 1-888-324-5445, email [email protected], or write to Frank O’Brien, 

115 Sunnyside DriveLewisKS 67552