San Juan Ranch – Stewardship With a Vision

  George Whitten and Julie Sullivan own and operate the San Juan Ranch in the San Luis Valley of Colorado. The  Valley is known for the crops it produces - potatoes, head lettuce, wheat, and barley - and for the struggles to save and maintain the aquifer that supports the farms and ranches. In this 9:14 video, George and Julie talk about their philosophy of land management and their work to become sustainable in a very challenging environment. The Valley gets 7 to 10 inches of precipitation a year, so catching and using every drop counts. On their ranch, they've adjusted their management to do just that. But it's also meant working with their neighbors on how to use and protect the aquifer. San Luis Valley leaders have estimated that low stream and river flows and falling water tables may lead to the dry-up of 100,000 irrigated acres, a fifth of the farmland in a valley where residents depend economically and culturally on growing food. Water use also impacts wildlife like the sandhill cranes who stop in the Valley on their spring and fall migrations, and the people downstream who rely on the Rio Grande river for drinking water and agriculture. It's a big lift for the small community, and that's why I thought this was an especially good story to share on Thanksgiving week. It reminds us of the importance of understanding our landscape, and how we all ha

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