An Arizona producer using drip irrigation that generates a 33% increase in alfalfa yield and a 10,000-cow dairy operation are among sites on the Big Horn Basin Growers' Tour through the University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service.
The tour, organized by UW CES Educator Sandra Frost of Powell, begins Monday, Jan. 5, and concludes Thursday, Jan. 8. The tour brochure is available at uwadmnweb.uwyo.edu/bighorncrops.
Frost hopes producers will hear new ideas and see new technology that could help Big Horn Basin growers improve their operations.
"We will see family farms that have added retail sales to their business plan and family farms that are growing specialty crops that fill high-demand niches," says Frost. "We will see farms that are using innovative irrigation and tillage methods."
The 10 agricultural sites include:
* Sundance Farms. In addition to watering alfalfa using drip irrigation, Howard Wuertz raises durum wheat, corn, cotton and watermelons.
* Arizona Grain Inc. specializes in marketing grain products. It is also the major supplier of corn to the Pinal Energy ethanol facility. The company also markets distillers' grain.
* Pinal Energy LLC is a 50-million gallon per year, corn-based ethanol facility. It is Arizona's first ethanol production facility.
* University of Arizona's Maricopa Agricultural Center conducts research on alfalfa, small grains, specialty crops, entomology and irrigation.
* Shamrock Farms is a 10,000-cow dairy with a strong retail marketing identity in the Phoenix area.
* Anderson-Palmisano Farms. Oliver Anderson grows 60 acres of specialty grains for the dried flower market on his 640-acre farm.
* Flying R Farms. Jerry Rovey will guide participants through the 30,000-acre Paloma Ranch area. A reservoir was built on a historic ranch to flood irrigate thousands of acres of row crops.
* A Tumbling T Ranches. Robert Rayner has used no-till for eight years and noticed the tilth of the soil has improved.
* Button & Bohnee Farming Partnership. Growers on 10 different farms formed the partnership in 2006. It is a private, American Indian-owned corporation that raises alfalfa, small grains, cotton and grain sorghum on 3,700 flood irrigated acres.
* Queen Creek Olive Mill. Olives are raised and pressed and the oil bottled. Its Tuscan cafe serves lunches prepared with oil from the farm.