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Water and weeds top Nevada agriculture issues

Posted 5/2/2007

Water and weeds are top concerns for Nevada agriculture producers, according to a statewide survey conducted by University of Nevada Cooperative Extension.

"Agriculture producers have set the agenda for Cooperative Extension's agriculture research and educational programs for the next few years," said Lyon County Extension Educator and university professor Loretta Singletary, Ph.D., who conducted the survey and analyzed the results.

Top priorities in order of importance were:

  • Legal considerations for water rights protection (91%)
  • Impacts of water transfers within and outside basins (89%)
  • Impacts of water rights sales (87%)
  • Impacts of environmental regulations on water use (83%)
  • Noxious weed identification and control (83%)

In Phase I of the survey, initial information was gathered from a targeted sample of agriculture producers. They identified five program areas for the survey - water; plant, crop and pest; livestock; rangeland health and agriculture and socioeconomics.

A Cooperative Extension Agriculture Planning Group helped develop the questions for Phase II, which was the formal survey. Additional reviews of the survey were given by members of the Nevada Agriculture Foundation, Nevada Farm Bureau and Nevada Department of Agriculture along with agriculture producers and suppliers. The four-page survey was mailed to 2,486 agriculture producers who earn at least $1,000 annually from agriculture.

"The response rate was 23 percent, which is considered fairly robust for a postal mail survey, given that no efforts were made to track individual respondents," according to Singletary. "The majority of survey respondents has used UNCE programs in the past and finds them very useful. Producers want to continue receiving printed educational materials and one-on-one instruction, which includes attending short workshops - the hallmarks of Cooperative Extension educational programs."

Data also show that the majority want private landowners to partner with Cooperative Extension in conducting the research. Although the majority (71 percent) have access to the Internet, they prefer to receive printed educational and research materials followed by one-on-one and group instruction.

The results of Nevada Agriculture Producer Needs Assessment are available free on University of Nevada Cooperative Extension's website as Educational Bulletin-06-02. A limited number of printed copies of the needs assessment results are available and may be requested by contacting the Lyon County Cooperative Extension office at 775-463-6541 or emailing Loretta Singletary.

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