Barry Hamilton from the NRCS talks about funding.
Craig Johansen speaks about the new irrigation system.
The Cottonwood Creek Consolidated Irrigation Company held an informational meeting and lamb fry dinner Sept. 14 at the fair grounds park in Castle Dale. The purpose of this meeting was to provide information about the progress made with construction projects the canal company is working on. Clyde Magnuson and Craig Johansen reported that phase one and phase two projects are completed. The application for funds to the NRCS was turned back. This application will be resubmitted. By mid-November the canal company will know if additional money will be available. Johansen said the canal company reservoir would be finished by next spring. There have been some unexpected delays in the construction.
He said if everything went well they could have the main lines completely in place by 2014 and 2015. That is if they get all the money they need to finish these projects. If the money doesn't come in the company would have to wait another three years for money. "For those projects we have planned and under contract we have the money to finish. We will have to get another block of funds to do the Mammoth and the Blue Cut canals. So far we have spent $17 million for the reservoir, the Clipper and Western Canal pressurized irrigation lines," said Johansen.
Johansen said when the stockholders meeting is held in January they will be able to update just how successful they have been in getting additional funding and will also have a better time line for the Mammoth and the Blue Cut canals. "Do not plow up your ditches or head gates this fall wait until the irrigation system is operational. We will be able to put water in the pipeline and in the canal. Some of you that have signed up for sprinkler systems will not have them operable by April and May of next year. The canals will have to be functional for one more year. We are at this time pressure testing the lines with water. We are looking for leaks to make sure the lines are operating correctly," said Johansen.
Barry Hamilton with the NRCS said, "We have policies and regulations that we must follow. Sometimes when dealing with these policies and regulations people get frustrated. If you have a problem let us sit down and work through these problems. We can always work through things as long as we stay with the policy and see what our options are. Our main objective is to help our shareholders and canal companies to be successful. We want to put conservation on the ground not prohibit nor to stand in the way.
"This year when applications were made we couldn't fund them because of eligibility issues. You may get a letter in the mail from Farm Service Agency. Sept. 14 the farm records were reset for everyone in the nation. You need to meet with FSA to make sure you are eligible for what you are doing on the land. This has to be done before Oct. 19. Before Oct. 19 you need to check your records with FSA to see if the plan has been reset for your farm. Work with FSA and update your farm records. In Mid-November we will be doing our screening of farm records. If your records are updated and you meet all of the screening and ranking criteria your contract should move forward. Reset means that it is your responsibility to get into the FSA office and get your records updated. This happens every year," said Hamilton.
If the Farm Bill is passed this year hopefully the money will be available by mid-November.
"Screening and ranking means your application based on the regional concerns identified within this county. The application is examined to see if it meets those concerns such as salinity. With irrigation if you have the pipeline in place you shouldn't have a problem getting a contract, if we have the money. We are trying to spread the money around equally and fairly," said Hamilton.
Hamilton emphasized that no NRCS employee can promise your contract will be funded. He then handed out applications for NRCS funding for 2013.