More than 20 dairy farmers across California have been pioneering the use of subsurface drip irrigation to grow feed crops, including corn, wheat, and alfalfa. By working with innovative companies and non-governmental organizations, dairy farmers have helped take sustainable farming to the next level. They are reducing water use by 47 to 67% and improving groundwater protection. Their collective efforts have helped develop new tools for California dairy farmers to continue advancing nutrient and water management.
California dairy farmers had already made great strides to increase their overall water-use-efficiency and on-farm water recycling, but in 2014 and 2015, two ground-breaking efforts began. One is led by Sustainable Conservation, and the other is known as The Alfalfa Project (TAP). Both projects are aimed at advancing further into the new frontier of subsurface drip irrigation. Today, with fast-approaching groundwater management regulations and the threat of significant decreases in both surface and groundwater availability, water conservation has never been more important, and these innovators are paving a sustainable path to follow.