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Save The Poudre Press Release 2009-06-04

For Immediate Release
Save The Poudre Coalition
June 29, 2009
Contact: Gary Wockner, 970-218-8310


Total impact can be a billion dollar negative jolt to farm economy over 30-year life of NISP loans.

Fort Collins, CO -- Today, the Save The Poudre Coalition made public the results of a short economic impact analysis on Northern Colorado's farm economy due to the proposed effects of the Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP) and its Glade Reservoir. In a previous press release (below), the Coalition described how NISP/Glade would help dry up at least 100,000 acres of irrigated farmland (1/7th of the irrigated ag land in the region) and help put out of production an additional 30,000 acres of dryland farming.

Scientists from CSU, state economists, and ag industry officials estimate that irrigated farming brings in $850/acre of economic activity every year to the South Platte basin of Colorado (see footnotes 1, 2, 3, and 4 below). Thus, NISP/Glade can cost the farm economy of Northern Colorado $85 million per year in lost revenue. Over the 30-year life of the loans to pay back NISP/Glade, the farm economy can suffer a billion-dollar negative jolt if NISP is built.

"The irrigated farmland that NISP will help dry up can cost the region $85 million annually in economic activity," said Gary Wockner of the Save The Poudre Coalition. "NISP/Glade would be a severe blow to a farm economy that is already reeling from low commodity prices and high fuel prices. When you factor in the non-irrigated agland put out of production, the impacts are even higher."

Weld County is one of the most important agricultural regions in the world where hundreds of local businesses depend on agriculture for their livelihood. Fuel, fertilizer, seed, farm equipment, and irrigation pipe are all bought locally. Community banks finance loans, and then of thousands of local residents work in agriculture or ag-dependent businesses.

In addition to a huge economic loss due to NISP/Glade, NISP can also cause the loss of 6 tons per acre per year of food and forage production (see footnote 5 below). That can total 600,000 tons per year over the NISP-subscriber area, due to drying up 100,000 acres of irrigated farmland.

"NISP and its destructive Glade Reservoir will help destroy the farm economy and food production system in Northern Colorado," said Wockner. "The main things NISP will produce are a billion dollars in public debt and thousands of tract houses in farm fields."

1. Colorado Water Resources Research Institute. April, 2005. "Lower South Platte Forum: Valuing your Water". Colorado State University.
2. Howe, Charles W. and Goemans, Christopher. October, 2003. "Water Transfers and Their Impacts: Lessons from Three Colorado Water Markets". Journal of the American Water Resources Association.
3. Smith, Dan. February, 2005. Agronomic Perspectives on Irrigation Water Conservation to Meet Growing Urban Demands. Colorado Water Resources Research Institute Newsletter, Colorado State University.
4. Thorvaldson, Jenny and Pritchett, James. June, 2007. "Economic impact analysis of reduced irrigated acreage in four river basins in Colorado". Colorado State University Extension Service Economic Development Report (EDR 07-14).
5. According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, irrigated agriculture in the NISP/Glade subscriber region averages 6 tons per acre per year of food and forage for the four-county NISP subscriber region (Weld, Morgan, Boulder, and Larimer counties).

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