AUGUSTA — The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF), working with the Maine Association of Conservation Districts, is encouraging Maine food producers to take a few minutes to complete a statewide agricultural water use survey. Within the next few days, farmers should check their mail for a confidential questionnaire that will be used to assemble data helpful to better understand agricultural water usage. The survey will update information on irrigation practices and water sources used to raise crops and livestock on Maine farms. DACF will use the survey results in its efforts to assist producers to prepare for future water needs.
“The drought in southern and central Maine last summer drew attention to the importance of better understanding current agricultural water use and potential future demands,” noted DACF Commissioner Walt Whitcomb. “Maine’s Soil and Water Conservation Districts are the logical group to assist DACF by making contacts with producers of agricultural crops. District cooperators are part of nearly every community across the state.”
Soil and Water Conservation Districts will mail the agricultural water usage survey to their cooperators and contacts in early March. The survey results will be used for estimating irrigation demand and future water needs, better understanding the impact of drought, and guiding cooperative efforts between Maine farmers and state government to develop necessary water resources.
“This is a voluntary survey, but we encourage farmers to participate. We need their help to better understand how and when Maine agricultural crop and livestock producers use water,” said Ryan Gordon, DACF water survey project manager. Gordon is a Maine Geological Survey hydrogeologist in the DACF Bureau of Resource Information and Land Use Planning.
—Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
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