Water conservation will be a perpetual concern from here on out.
"That's never going to go away," he says.
These practices often lead to reductions in water and fertilizer use, as well as less runoff from the farm, Kates says.
Some are simple: building grassed swales to control erosion or holding as much runoff as possible on the farm during stormwater events.
Many growers are updating irrigation systems for added efficiency or using reclaimed water where feasible. Tailwater recovery systems—collecting applied irrigation water for later reuse in on-site ponds, where nutrients settle out—are one option that saves water and reduces runoff, Kates says.
It's becoming a popular option for strawberry and blueberry growers, who can also tap the collected water for freeze protection when needed, he says.
Despite state and federal budget cuts, cost-share funds still are available to help growers add tailwater recovery systems or implement other new practices under the guidelines, Kates says.