JBS 5 Rivers Cattle Water Development Plans

The Prowers County Commissioners hosted a public hearing Thursday, June 9, on plans submitted by Colorado Beef to dry up land irrigated by the Ft. Lyon Canal, and use the water for feedlot purposes.   Commission chairman Henry Schnabel said the county has 120 days to make a decision on the proposal, but doesn’t believe it will take that long.  Schnabel said, “The presentation was a very solid program,” and according to plans, will help curtail dust at the feedlot at the Wiley Junction and improve the performance of the cattle.

The feedlot owners are seeking a 1041 revegetation permit which will allow the dry up of the irrigated land.  JBS 5 Rivers purchased additional property in 2007 for expansion, and with it, the water rights with the acreage.  Plans include a fresh water reservoir to compliment the water the company uses from two wells.  The water will be blended at about a 50/50 mix, using a feedlot and a farming well, plus the additional water from the dry up.  Between April and September each year, the water used will be 100% from Ft. Lyon Canal.

Doug Morris, the general manager at the feedlot said JBS 5 Rivers plans to use the additional water to cut down on the amount of dust generated by the 60,000 cattle penned at the feedlot and use it for their water needs.  Morris said the feedlot is permitted to hold 68,000 head.  He supplied the commissioners with some statistics on the economic impact the feedlot has on the community.  “We buy close to $84,000 worth of general supplies each year and spend $340,000 in utilities, $225,000 for our fuel needs and pay about $90,000 in property taxes, “he said.  Morris added that the feedlot employs 50 people with a $2 million dollar annual payroll.  About 75,000 tons of silage is consumed each year along with 6.5 million bushels of grain a year, of which half is bought locally, for $40million.  Morris added it will take at most, six months to complete the project.

The feedlot uses up to 900 acre feet of water a year and expects to use 450 to 500 acre feet from Ft. Lyon canal, and that figure is expected to vary through the season.  Colorado Beef plans to renovate the older portion of the feedlot which dates back to the late 1960s at an estimated cost of $8-9million.  They told the commissioners the additional water will be an integral part of their future operations.  Schnabel said the dry up will cost the county about $1,500 in lost tax collections, but that could also be offset by the future development.

Mary Presecan, Water Resource Engineer for Colorado Beef, explained that some feedlot effluent will be used for harvested cropland owned by the company and they are permitted for that.  Only fresh water will be applied to the revegetated land once the dry up process has begun.  Brad Walker also described the grassland revegetation plans for the commissioners under the 1041 guidelines.  The commissioners wanted the company to know that even though a panel from Ft. Lyon will be established for the 1041, the county has the last word on the process, although there will be some input from the canal company.

By Russ Baldwin


Filed Under: AgricultureBusinessCommissionersCountyEconomyEmploymentEnergyFeaturedHealthLamar


About the Author:

RSSComments (0)

Trackback URL

Comments are closed.