Field Work | LOR Foundation

Field Work

Innovative water solutions from Western farmers and ranchers

LOR’s 2024 Field Work initiative will invest another estimated $100,000 into research led by farmers and ranchers that explores innovative approaches to using water in agriculture.

As the Mountain West faces the worst drought in the past 1,200 years, demand for agricultural food products is expected to increase by as much as 98 percent by 2050, putting Western farmers and ranchers on the frontlines of the fight to solve water challenges. Too often, however, funding for innovative techniques that might improve water usage is hard to access and slow to reach the experts on the ground. That’s why LOR launched Field Work in 2023—and why we are excited to continue our search for innovation in 2024.

Through Field Work, farmers and ranchers in rural parts of Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, and Wyoming are eligible for up to $10,000 to implement creative water projects on their land (think: improved water efficiency, water reliability, water quality, crop yield or crop diversification, and labor efficiency). Our goal is to get money quickly into the hands of the people in the field and on the ranch who have the most innovative solutions.

Background

Over three weeks in February 2023, LOR received more than 250 proposals from producers across all five states where we work. In the spring, we selected the 61 most innovative projects, investing a total of $538,802 into research led by farmers and ranchers.

These folks are the experimenters, tinkerers, innovators, and iterators who—while Western states agonize over how to resolve antiquated water compacts—have been finding ways to eke out a living from the land. They’re people who have a vested interest in finding ways to use water more effectively—for their own operations and for the good of the West. Ultimately, we hope their research reveals the best solutions for using water efficiently to grow food and sustain thriving communities in the West while in the grip of desperate drought.

 

Learn about the 61 Field Work projects from 2023.

Field Work 2024

While we continue to learn from the projects we supported in 2023, LOR is excited to search for more innovative solutions from farmers and ranchers in 2024. With generous support from CoBank, LOR is pleased to offer another round of funding to support approximately 10 farmers and ranchers implementing creative solutions to water-related challenges on their land. 

This year, we focus even more on identifying the best research questions and most innovative solutions. Creative, out-of-the-box, and novel ideas will be most likely to receive funding this year. You can learn more about Field Work 2024 in our FAQs, and complete an application beginning March 20, 2024.

Applications Open March 20, 2024

Return to this page on March 20 to begin your application; we will accept applications through April 10, 2024. It might be helpful to review the FAQs in advance. In the meantime, if you’d like to receive updates regarding Field Work projects and learnings, please provide your contact information below. If you would also like to receive information about other funding opportunities and resources via LOR’s monthly email, please note that in your message. Thank you.

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