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C o n n e c t i n g t he D o t s between. Ag W a t e r Use & U r b a n C o n s u m e r s. Mitch Peele, Sr. Director of Public Policy July 14, 2011. Overview. Effect of changing demographics Resulting misconceptions Agriculture ’ s approach to protecting water resources

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C o n n e c t i n g t he D o t s between

Ag W a t e r Use & U r b a n C o n s u m e r s

Mitch Peele, Sr. Director of Public Policy

July 14, 2011


Overview

  • Effect of changing demographics

  • Resulting misconceptions

  • Agriculture’s approach to protecting water resources

  • The strategic plan

  • AgWRAP

  • The “connection”

  • Future Steps


1. The Effect of Changing Demographics

Then

  • For most of our history, NC was more rural than urban

  • In 1990, NC was 53% rural and 47% urban

  • Most people or their parents grew up on a farm

    Now

  • In 2010, NC was 49% rural and 51% urban

  • Today, most people are a generation or 2 removed from the farm


1. The Effect of Changing Demographics (Super 8 Counties - 40%)

WakeDurham Forsyth New Hanover

MecklenburgBuncombeGuilfordCumberland


1. The Effect of Changing Demographics (Urban Ring Counties - 35%)

Gaston Rowan Harnett

Orange Randolph Rockingham

Cabarrus Wilson Cleveland

Union Henderson Robeson

Davidson Wayne Burke

Catawba Nash Pitt

Caldwell Moore Craven

Iredell Brunswick

Johnston Onslow

Alamance Lincoln


1. The Effect of Changing Demographics (Super and Urban Ring Counties - 75%)


1. The Effect of Changing Demographics (Remaining Counties - 25%)


2. Resulting Misconceptions(Lack of Understanding)

  • We’re big water users (USGS, CCPCUA Fiscal Note)

  • We have little to no data

  • We are wasteful

  • We represent nonessential uses


2. Resulting Misconceptions(The Reality)

  • Ag is not a big water user

    • CCP (<10%)

    • Statewide (<2%)

  • Ag water use data

    • Statewide registration data for many years

    • CCP data for 10 years

    • Statewide ag survey since 2007

  • Ag is leading the way in conservation

    • 45 conservation standard practices

    • Green Industry

    • Extension

  • Green Industry use is essential

    • Approximately $900 million to state economy

    • Provides environmental benefits

    • Improves land value


What's Reality?

The Voice of Agriculture®


3. Agriculture’s Approach to Protecting Water Resources

  • Voluntary

  • Conservation

  • Increased efficiency

  • Water audits

  • Increased reuse

  • Increased storage capacity

  • Innovative solutions (ASTAR)


4. The Strategic Plan(The Need)

  • Ideas were random

  • Need for science/data

  • Need more credible approach

    • (WAS, Water 2030)

  • Need to identify what we need to do and how to get there

  • Need a roadmap


4. The Strategic Plan(The Contents)

  • Altria grant

  • 80+ ag groups

  • Objectives

    • Maintaining Riparian Rights

    • Increasing On-Farm Water Storage Capacity

    • Protecting Farmers’ Ability to Adapt

    • Implementing best management practices

    • Encouraging Voluntary Water-Use Reporting

    • Ensuring Farmers Right to Use Water in Droughts

  • Funds were needed to implement


5. AgWRAPAgriculture Water Resource Assistance Program

  • $1 million in Budget Bill

  • Administered through Soil & Water

  • Conservation practices

  • Increased efficiencies

  • Increased storage capacity


So, what’s the connection

with urban consumers?

The Voice of Agriculture®


6. The “Connection”(Opportunities)

  • Future growth in agriculture

    • (+ $70 billion today)

  • Specialty crops market opportunities

    • Nursery crops

    • New development markets

    • Fruits and vegetable crops (local foods)

    • Embracement by urban consumers

  • Local economies depend on agriculture (production, processing, transportation, wholesale, retail, etc.)


6. The “Connection”(The Conflicts)

  • Opposition to irrigation of lawns, landscapes, etc

  • Patchwork of ordinances regarding water use

  • Renewed debate over essential uses

    • Public water supplies will become priority

    • Large industrial employers will become priority

  • Urban consumers still have misconception (small and large farms)

  • Water policies will be questioned


6. The “Connection”(Possible Solutions)

  • Better understanding of demand versus supply

    • DENR river basin models

  • Identification of hot spots

  • Local/regional water advisory councils (voluntary)

  • Increased education regarding importance of green industry

  • Implementation of ag and urban conservation measures

  • Increased use of reclaimed water

  • Increased storage capacity (reservoirs)


7. Future Steps

  • Build partnerships with local governments

  • Collaborate with other user groups on common goals

  • Work with legislature to adopt reasonable water policy

  • Ag Water Work Group, GIC water wise, Extension, Rural Center, DENR river basin stakeholders, possible legislative Water Study


Thank you.


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