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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - October 3, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta J2 THS irTHBRIDGE HERALD Tuesday, October 3, 1972 Purnel named head Alberta irrigation division helps farmers With tlic formation of the ir- rigation division in southern Alberta, the provincial gov- ernment is continuing its pro- gram of decentralization of ser- vices from Edmonton. Lcthbridge was chosen as the centre for the division since the majority of tire irrigated land is located south o[ Calgary DR. JAY PURNEl heod of the irrigation division from Lclhbrldge to Medicine Hat. Dr. Jay Purncl, first director of the division, said if the province is to realize and take full advantage of production and marketing opportunities that become open to irrigation farmers, it must be geared to the needs of these farmers. I'HOHI.KMS In tlus regard and with an eye constantly directed to help- ing farmers, the division must present itself to the following problems, he said. resources available to farmers to assist with land purchase and preparation, water use, labsr and manage- ment. -production potential and land capabilities for irrigalion. Staff members study the situ- ation for individual farmers. supply and distribu- tion to the fanner. The divi- sion is oriented to the farmer on irrigalion and is set up to provide the how, when and why of irrigation use. In this vein, the division will deal with irrigation districts on many water supply aspects of irrigalion, capital works pro- jects and provide design ser- vices, cost estimates and pos- sibly letting of contracts. Dr. PurneU said lie expects a mod- ification hi services provided to irrigation district? because of a possible change in approach, division is very con- cerned with the economics of irrigation. Marginal land that needs belter management and crop management and returns are all dove tailed with produc- tion and a marketing approach for irrigation grown products. CO-OPEKATION Dr. Purnel said the irrigation division mil co-ordinate with all other segments of the Alberta department of agriculture to help the farmers. An example of this work is done assisting with irrigation extension courses for all farm- ers to allow them to upgrade their knowledge cf irrigation methods and systems. There is considerable work done with applied research and co-opera- tive work done with the Alberta Horticultural Research Center, in addition to the research cen- ter substation at Strathmore. Dr. Purnel said there is a need to get people oriented to the world market place. This is needed so the farmers can be adaptable to change to meet the quality and quantity needs of the market. "The irrigation division is set up to help the farmer do said Dr. Purnel. LARKY SP1ESS systems speci; ration The recently formed Alberta Irrigalion division within the framework of the provincial de- partment of has two main both aimed at the betterment of irrigalion farms. Tabbed the thinking and doing division, it is aimed at the grass roots level of helping farmers to help themselves, the division is located in tlw Science Building at the I.ethb ridge Community College. Akos Pimgoy, head of the conservation and development branch for the division, said the function of his work is to provide professional and tech- nical assistance to all irriga- tion farmers. The branch, in providing the why and how of solving irriga- tion problems, will follow t h a philosophy of taking the ser- vice as close as possible to the people. To do this, there are seven branch offices. Farmers in southern Alberta or anywhere in the province can approach the irrigatipn specialist of tech- nologist in the branch office and get help through the resources of the entire division. The offices with the attending personnel include Lethbridge, Stan Norcika (irrigation spe- Medicine Hat, Colin Nilsson (irrigation Brooks, a vacancy for another specialist; Bow Island, Fred Mellon Taber, Len Ring (irrigation Strathmore, Rollie H a v ens and Vauxha 11, Ted Maduke Assistance to farmers through the conservation and develop- ment branch includes engineer- ing surveys, earthwork designs and construction plans for land levelling, contour farming prac- tices, surface drainage, water course improvement, dams and dugouts, farm ditch systems, checks, drops and diversion structures, lift pump schemes and sprinkler equipment. The branch will offer consul- tation and current information for planning irrigated and dry land farm development, soil sampling for moisture, water holding capacity and salinity content as well as choosing a sprinkler design for a particu- lar situation that provides for proper spacing, pipe size, noz- zle size, and horsepower re- quirements to maintain operat- ing pressure. The branch will also offer service to irrigation districts. The te e h n i c a 1 resources branch is the other arm of the division. No head has b e en named to date. There are three work areas within tix; technical resources branch with specialists working out of the Lelhbridge office. Ray Schulcr is a soil special- ist working with all soil lems relating to irrigation. He provides services to irrigation districts in establishment of water assessment in addition to being a resource person to tlw entire division hi matters relat- ing to soils. Dick Heywood is a soil and water specialist who is inter- ested in promoting improved irrigation technology to obtain improved water use. This work area is. responsible for providing up-to-date cal information to district irri- gation specialists for dealing with unusual problems involv- ing the relationsluns between WJitcr, soil and plants. Larry Spiess is an irrigation systems specialist dealing with research on new systems of ir- rigation as it can be adapted to local conditions. Both grav- ity and sTwinMcr methods of irrigalion are stressed. Mr. Spiess also works as a liason between the manufactur- ers of irrigation equipment and the irrigalion division person- nel. RAY SCIIUI.VR soils speci; IHCK HEYWOOD soil and FRANK HECKER technician JUDY MUNROE LORRAINE DORCIIAK ERICA CHANSON PAUL MALOFF technician ;