Rotational farm fallowing and water sales concept
Two Rivers Water & Farming Company announced it completed its 2013 harvest of fruits and vegetables with $2.014 million in crop revenue despite historic drought in its Arkansas River basin and tributaries areas on the southern Front Range of Colorado.
Crop revenues increased 106 percent over 2012 crop revenue, despite the historic drought. Two Rivers produced revenue of over $7,000 an acre from its fruit and vegetable acreage, and the company will double its 2014 irrigated acreage dedicated to fruit and vegetable production.
What’s of interest about Two Rivers is that this income from the farming operation is in addition to contracts with municipalities for providing water. Stretching the available water for both crop irrigation and municipal use is occurring because of a “new farming and water business model.”
Two Rivers has developed and operates a new business model that it claims is “suitable for arid regions in the Southwestern United States whereby the company synergistically integrates high value fruit and vegetable farming and wholesale water distribution into one company, utilizing a practice of rotational farm fallowing.”
“Rotational farm fallowing, as it applies to water, is a best methods farm practice whereby portions of farm acreage are temporarily fallowed in cyclic rotation to give soil an opportunity to reconstitute itself. As a result of fallowing, an increment of irrigation water can be made available for municipal use without permanently drying up irrigated farmland. Collaborative rotational farm fallowing agreements between farmers and municipalities make a portion of irrigation water available for urban use. The company's initial area of focus is in the Arkansas River basin and its tributaries on the southern Front Range of Colorado,” a company statement explains.
The water business portion of the company will eventually require as much as $100 million investment to rebuild a large reservoir and irrigation system it owns, which includes the water rights permitting for the storage and diversion of water for irrigation purposes that were originally granted in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
This permitted water reservoir area is just east of the foothills at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in southern Colorado. Even at $100 million, the Cucharas, Bradford and Orlando Reservoirs can be rehabilitated at a fraction of replacement costs without time consuming and costly permitting, claims the company.
Once rehabilitated, the permanent lakes will provide water for municipalities and agriculture in Huerfano County. The company refers to rehabilitating and establishing infrastructure for water services around the reservoirs occurring during a ten-year period.
The website for the company is www.2riverswater.com.
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