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Conservation Efforts Benefit Southern Nevada Producers and the Environment

By: Melissa Blair and Heather Emmons

Teri Knight, district conservationist, and the Hardys gather around a water control structure to discuss pipeline installation plans.
Teri Knight, district conservationist, and the Hardys gather around a water control structure to discuss pipeline installation plans.

For Stan Hardy and his father, Glen, owners of the Hardy Farm, the hands-on technical assistance provided through the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has not only benefited the environment with water savings and improved soil health, but it has yielded benefits for their alfalfa production and farm.

In Moapa Valley and the surrounding areas, about 60 miles from Las Vegas, high demand for water continues to rise with increasing population, business pressures, drought and other climate concerns, so water efficiency is critical to ensure producers survive and have a sustainable water supply.

NRCS has worked with three generations of the Hardy family to develop and implement conservation plans for leased land parcels throughout the Moapa Valley, as well as provide technical and financial assistance for installing the recommended conservation practices. The valley’s water is supplied by the irrigation district through an open concrete ditch system, which allows water to evaporate. NRCS has helped the Hardys improve the efficiency of their irrigation system with pipes and easy-to-operate controls, reducing evaporation, input costs and time managing water distribution in the fields. The Hardys also land leveled to improve water delivery to their alfalfa fields that has increased yields and decreased use of herbicides.

“Before this improved system, we had to have dozers and workers on hand to keep the water where it was supposed to go when we got our allotment,” said Stan Hardy. “Now with this more efficient system, we are able to maximize water usage, while minimizing equipment and labor costs, increasing the bottom line to use acres that we have not been able to use before.”

“NRCS is able to work with the landowners to address their short-term and long-term goals and concerns for their farm or ranch to increase efficiency while protecting their natural resources, like we did for the Hardys,” said Teri Knight, district conservationist in the Las Vegas NRCS office. “This allows them to better manage the use and distribution of their water allotment, which results in a win-win for everyone.”

Glen and Stan Hardy both have also helped fellow farmers and ranchers through their work with the USDA Farm Service Agency county committees in Utah and Nevada. Glen has also instilled agricultural values in many generations of students as an educator and agricultural teacher at the Moapa Valley High School.

The love the Hardy family has for their land, their community and heritage is evidenced in the conservation efforts they are taking to ensure the water, and their agricultural operation, is there for future generations.