A Solution

ReachOut: A Solution from Central Valley Ag on Vimeo.

by Mike Zwingman

by Mike Zwingman

As our global population is growing, the rate at which we use water is growing even faster. Every day, there are more people in the world and those people are using more water than they did yesterday.

Seventy percent of freshwater used globally is used for production agriculture. And given the alarming present situation with water usage, saying that we need to use our water more efficiently is a huge understatement. Saudi Arabia has quit using groundwater to irrigate their fields and is relying only on desalinated ocean water for the purpose, but Nebraska can’t exactly desalinate Wyoming, so…

Our livelihoods here in Nebraska depends on water. Think about it: if not for irrigation, we couldn’t farm about fifty percent of our acres across the state. And as water becomes ever more in demand, our livelihoods increasingly depend on improving our water usage.

This is irritating to hear, I’m sure. For starters, it makes it seem as if we haven’t already been working to improve our water usage. We have though. I’ve seen the improvements throughout my lifetime. The thing is that they need to come faster. Secondly, this issue presents as yet another thing outside of our control that we must deal with nonetheless, like the weather and the market. That just about hits it on the head. But as with weather, we can be victims of its endless challenges, or we can take control where we can and make the most of the hand we’re dealt.

You know that I’m a fan of that latter perspective and it is ever applicable to the worldwide water situation a-brewing. The long term costs of not improving our water usage are tremendously high and so alarming, but even the short term costs of not improving our usage are lousy, including leaching Nitrogen, inhibited root growth, and surface runoff after rains.shutterstock_pivot

How to improve our usage, I’ll admit, is a bit of the rub. The reason that improvements have been slow to come is that they aren’t apparent, and they aren’t easy. As I survey the current landscape though, I can at least point to one solution that points us in a better direction than we’re headed now and that solution is Aqua Systems, which provides us with precise information about the water content in our soil.

I used to be a crop consultant and say that I could give you the same precise information about the water content in your soil via the “feel method.” Perhaps you have a crop consultant currently who does the same. I tell you this though: I was wrong and they are wrong too. The information that an AquaSystems by ACS capacitance probe can provide you is endlessly more accurate and useful than the information that even the best crop consultant can glean from their fingers.

AquaSystems is an existing, useful solution to a current and very pressing problem. While it might not be the whole solution to the issue, it is one good part of it, and better yet, I can say with about ninety percent confidence that you’ll recoup the cost of the probe within one year. With about seventy percent confidence, I can say that you’ll see a 2:1 return on it as the information it provides both saves you water and maximizes your yield.Blue-Box-e1409667504172

I know that not everyone reading this right now is racing out the door to buy a probe. Even if it makes sense to you to use one, doing so requires learning yet another new skill, more looking, more listening, more asking, more engaging, and that stuff is sometimes exhausting. But, friends, it is a new skill that is desperately needed. It is a skill that positions you as a leader—someone pushing forward not because he or she has too, but because he or she should. Someone with the gumption, prowess, and fierceness to not only do their part, but to pioneer the future and forge a path forward for others to follow.