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Western ranchers, farmers can get up to $10k for water use innovation

Farmers and ranchers can get up to $10,000 for innovating the way they use water. The LOR Foundation is now accepting applications for their Field Works initiative.

BOISE, Idaho — Farmers and ranchers can get up to $10,000 for innovating the way they use water. Starting Wednesday, the LOR Foundation is accepting applications for their 'Field Works' initiative. Smaller dollar amounts will also be awarded.

Bill Jaeger, the Strategic Initiatives Officer for the LOR Foundation, said water is critical in the west and agriculture is the largest water user in the Mountain West. He added the foundation is approaching this water use initiative as research, which from their perspective, makes farmers and ranchers the experts.

"Too often, we are stuck trying to tackle what can seem like insurmountable problems with too few tools," Jaeger said. "We have a strong belief that those who are closest to the problems are oftentimes the ones who have the best solutions. Farmers and ranchers are problem solvers. You know, they solve problems every single day, and we should look to them when we're thinking about how are we going to solve some of our water related challenges, given that it is the lifeblood of their work. One rancher I spoke to this morning said, 'I treat it like gold. That's how precious water is.'"

Jaeger also said the foundation is pretty open to solutions that people may propose.

"We've got a pretty wide open view that anything that's water related, that's a challenge or opportunity facing a farmer or rancher, is fair game for us to research and learn from," Jaeger said. "We've got ideas coming at us around creative applications of different products to the soil, to improve water retention to soil, different automations, of how water is moved, more targeted use of water as opposed to broad based. So, we anticipate having a wide variety of ideas."

Jaeger said they hope to fund 50 to 75 projects across the Mountain West. He added the LOR Foundation's mission is to improve the quality of life across the region. 

"Quality of life includes a lot of things, education, health, the economy, the environment, but it absolutely includes water and the livelihood and way of life that our agricultural producers in our rural communities lift up," Jaeger said.

Click here for more information about the initiative. If you would like to go right to the application, then click here

Several people from the LOR foundation also have office hours available to help with questions.

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