EL CENTRO – At their regular meeting of Tuesday, April 8, the IID Board of Directors revised the Farm-Unit Fallowing Program that was approved March 25, 2014.
An ad hoc committee comprised of two members of the IID Board of Directors, IID staff, Members of the Water Conservation Advisory Board, Imperial Valley Vegetable Growers Association, and the Imperial County Farm Bureau have been meeting regularly to develop a Farm-Unit Fallowing Program that could be initiated by July 1.
This program would replace the current fallowing program and would be used to fulfill the annual water transfer deliveries to the San Diego County Water Authority, Salton Sea mitigation requirements, payback of previous year’s overruns of Colorado River water, and to create conservation and surplus water to assist in the management of IID’s annual 3.1 million acre-feet Colorado River consumptive use cap.
At the March 25 meeting it was noted that the Farm-Unit Fallowing Subcommittee would be coming back with some minor changes to the program outline.
The recommended changes to the program are as follows;
- Fields with permanent crops are now eligible.
- The farm-unit composition will be determined as of the program notification mailing.
- The fallowing payment rate is $175 per a/f with no payment cap.
- Participating landowners will receive 80% of all monies generated from fields that were authorized to be placed in the program and these funds will be distributed equally over all eligible participating acres in the farm-unit. Any agreement between landowners and the farm-unit manager regarding rents is the sole responsibility of those participating parties. The IID will not be involved with these agreements.
- Whole fields must be used to meet each farm-unit’s fallowed water requirement, except that a maximum of one partial field will be allowed to be used to fulfill any remaining balance of the fallowed water requirement. The partial field must be square, rectangle, or triangular in shape and must have a connection to 2 sides of the whole field. Partial fields deviating from these requirements must be pre-approved by the IID.
The implementation of the Farm-Unit fallowing Program has begun. These changes recommended by the Farm-Unit Fallowing Subcommittee will address concerns of stakeholders and hopefully get more participation in the program, especially the $175 per a/f payment rate. The last fallowing program payment rate was $125 per a/f.