The Nature Conservancy Announces New Performance Irrigation Coordinator

The Nature Conservancy of Nebraska has chosen Jacob Fritton as the Performance Irrigation Coordinator for its Platte River program.

Cozad, NE | January 22, 2014

Fritton, who will work from the Conservancy’s Cozad office, studied wildlife biology at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. He comes to the Conservancy from the Monsanto Water Utilization Center, where he recently worked as a Farm Technician.

Fritton brings experience with irrigation systems and soil moisture monitoring technology to his new role, collaborating with farmers who want to adopt and test promising new techniques. The Conservancy will help determine how saving water at the farm level will benefit the river and its flows.

“The cornerstone of this project is essentially the interface between how we get our food – the human aspects of water use – and conservation. We have to understand the relationship between best practices in agriculture and healthy watersheds if we want to make lasting progress,” said John Heaston, Platte River Program Director for The Nature Conservancy.

Forty percent of the nation’s irrigated corn is sourced from Nebraska. There are seven million acres of irrigated land in the Platte River Valley. Irrigation accounts for 90% of consumptive water use in the state. “While the variables affecting Platte River hydrology are numerous and complex, there are actions that can be taken in the near term that would move it to a higher level of sustainability,” said Heaston.

This project is a new one for the Conservancy. With support from Conservancy members, Coca-Cola, John Deere, World Wildlife Federation, and McDonald’s, the goal of this effort is to take a solid new step toward efficient irrigation that is good for the farmer, the watershed, and wildlife.

“I appreciate the Conservancy’s collaborative approach,” said Britton. “We all depend on farmers. I look forward to diving in and working them to reach our mutual conservation goals – and to protect the hard-working Platte for years to come.”

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the web at To learn about the Conservancy’s global initiatives, visit To keep up with current Conservancy news, follow @nature_press on Twitter.

Contact information

John Heaston
Platte River Program Director
(308) 784-5336

Jill Wells
(402) 342-0282 x 1002


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