Shellman- As pivots distribute water across South Georgia crops today, water wars continue to be a hot topic throughout the state. "To be able to conserve it and use it wisely, to make the most of it particularly because it's so precious and so scarce," is how Congressman Sanford Bishop explains the need for farmers to find better ways to conserve water.
Nearly four years ago, The U.S. Department of Agriculture bought farmland in Shellman to test methods of irrigation. Agricultural economist Marshall Lamb says "The major focus and the only focus of the research facility is irrigation. We want to help growers improve their crop yeild, maintain their costs while conserving water."
As workers walk through rows of peanuts, cotton and corn they take note of how the crops are responding to a given irrigation method. "Within the the methods we're looking at different methods because the water issues in Southwest Georgia have come to the forefront," explains Lamb.
Today growers listened carefully at a field day tour as different experiments were explained to them. Research Associate, Mark Masters said "We have a specifically designed system that moves across the field and it puts out a different amount of water on each plot." Researcher Dana Sullivan explained "We're out here looking at the varaibility in soil types through remotely sensed sattelite data as well as hand held information."
These farmers know it's important to share our water supply, but they have to depend on a successful crop for their livlihood. They're hoping some of the techniques they were shown today will help them in the future by saving more water while also keeping their crops alive.
Today was the first Multi-Crop Irrigation field day. Farmers were able to learn about seven areas of research being conducted.