Water Saver: Oklahoma Master Irrigator Program

practical technologies and tools that farmers and other agricultural professionals can use to combat the effects of drought. During the four-day program, we give attendees advanced training on irrigation water management, irrigation system and equipment maintenance, energy conservation, water conservation and quality, and economics of irrigated agriculture. We also encourage them to share best practices with us and with each other as we develop and deliver the program. Since 2021, OSU Extension specialists Sumit Sharma, Jason Warren, Saleh Taghvaeian, and Kevin Wagner have presented the Master Irrigator program to 40 producers and other agricultural professionals in the Oklahoma Panhandle and in southwest Oklahoma. The third edition of the program is scheduled to begin in January 2023 and will include the content and delivery approaches that worked well in the first two versions and will reflect what we’ve learned about and from our target audience. Master Irrigator is a prime example of how Extension delivers evidence-based programs that address current community needs. It’s also a model of how to develop content that advances and leverages the expertise and experience of the participants.

These agencies contributed to the content of the OSU Extension Master Irrigator Program:

Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station Oklahoma Conservation Commission Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry

Oklahoma Farm Bureau

Oklahoma Panhandle Agriculture and Irrigation Association

Oklahoma Water Resources Board Oklahoma Water Resources Center


The Master Irrigator Program: A Solution for Many Producers

One of the most important steps in developing the Master Irrigator events is to assemble an advisory panel to help create the curriculum. Each panel includes producers, consultants, and county Extension personnel from the area of the state where we will deliver the program, because crops, water sources, and irrigation

needs vary from region to region. This helps us develop content that addresses a wide range of agricultural requirements and gives everyone something to apply to their work in the field. For example, in the Panhandle the major crops are corn, grain, sorghum, and wheat, and all farms draw their water from the Ogallala aquifer, using center pivot irrigation systems. So the producers on the panel for that Master Irrigator program were primarily corn and wheat farmers. For the southwest program, we had more cotton farmers because that’s the

“My biggest takeaway was how smaller management decisions and shifts can result in benefits that add up over time.”

— Master Irrigator program participant


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