LOCAL NEWS

Utah farmer invests in irrigation now to save water for his family in the future

Mar 14, 2022, 6:47 PM | Updated: Jun 19, 2022, 9:22 pm

SYRACUSE, Utah – Drought has forced Utah farmers to make tough decisions as we head into spring and summer. 

One farmer has already invested in a new watering system so he and his family can save water for the future.

Willard Bay right now is about 60% lower than it was this time last year. Couple that with some less than stellar snowpack and this summer could be very similar to what we saw a year ago. 

We may take for granted the produce in our grocery stores that makes its way onto our dinner tables. 

“We’re definitely in a drought cycle and it’s really hard,” said Kenny McFarland. He is one of the many farmers who make up Onions 52, in Syracuse. 

Now that he is headed for a third year of drought he’s doing things differently. 

Willard Bay right now is about 60% lower than it was this time last year. (KSL TV) Onions 52 is a big onion farming cooperative. (KSL TV) Inside the Onions 52 farming cooperative. (KSL TV)

“We’ve changed the crops that we grow and we’ve also changed the way that we water our crops,” he explained. 

Over the past six years, he’s switched his hundreds of acres of onions to drip irrigation which cut down the amount of water lost through evaporation, sending it directly to the crops. It was expensive. 

“It depends on the crop, how much it conserves,” McFarland said. “A general number that I’ve come up with is about half of the water.” 

It works well with onions, but not with all crops.  

McFarland said tough decisions have to be made now in future housing developments and in how we water. 

“I’m young enough that I’m concerned for the next 35 years. That’s really what keeps me up at night – is what are my kids going to do to be able to farm successfully,” he added. 

McFarland believes homeowners should be able to use their water, just as farmers have their water rights. But he said, better planning needs to happen before Utah’s growth gets out of hand. 

“It is really up to state and local governments and also water providers to make sure that in 20,30, 100 years from now, we are sustainable as a community,” he said. 

Many water districts still have to decide on water restrictions for the season, and it could still change depending on how the next several weeks develop. 

Still, Weber Basin Water Conservancy District has said they anticipate cutbacks in agriculture watering of around 40%. 

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

...
Lauren Steinbrecher

UDOT crews working overnight to prepare roads for snowy morning commute

The snow may have died down across some areas of northern Utah Monday night, but UDOT is still hard at work and expects to keep crews on overnight to prep the roads for what could a snowy, icy morning commute Tuesday.
1 day ago
Exterior of the San Juan Puerto Rico Temple. The temple’s architecture is inspired by the Spanish...
Madison Swenson

First temple in Puerto Rico opening to the public

The San Juan Puerto Rico Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is opening its doors to the public beginning Dec. 1.
1 day ago
...
Dan Rascon

Parents, students terrified after false alarm at Granger Elementary School

There were some terrifying moments for parents and students at Granger Elementary School Monday after word spread of a possible active shooter. That was before they found out it was a false alarm.
1 day ago
Moose in swimming pool...
Cary Schwanitz

DWR – You don’t have to report every wildlife encounter

Utah’s mountainous terrain is home to many animals that often wander into lower elevations like neighborhoods.
1 day ago
UDOT Station Supervisor Shawn Wright, and snowplow driver Nick Kesler look over one of the plows be...
Jed Boal

UDOT snowplow drivers are ready for the winter roads

Utah snowplow drivers are prepared for the incoming snow fall hitting the state this week.
1 day ago
The crashed truck inside the Springville insurance office. (Mapleton City Fire Department)...
Michael Houck

Distracted driving causes car crash into insurance office, police say

A car drove into an insurance agency after a traffic accident where a vehicle ran a red light, hitting another car Monday. 
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Utah farmer invests in irrigation now to save water for his family in the future