Lower Elkhorn NRD tables irrigation decision

NORFOLK -  Farmers hoping for a decision on irrigation expansion in the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District will have to wait at least another month. A motion to allow no new irrigation development in the district in 2014 was tabled Thursday night after a lengthy hearing.  Several irrigators shared with the board reasons that variances would be needed in the coming year. Some have land that is considered irrigated for tax purposes, but that because of changes in rental agreements will no longer be irrigated without a variance to grant a new well. Some have removed trees or buildings to make their center pivots more efficient, but cannot irrigate the new acres without a variance. Others have been waiting for two years for a well permit and want to make sure they are on the top of the list if new irrigated acres are ever allowed. A board committee will discuss the issue next month, and that may lead to a directive to staff to draw up some plan for granting variances. The item will be on the agenda for the board’s next meeting on October 24th.