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February 2024

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LOR Foundation “Field Work” Initiative Application Opens February 1

The Mountain West is experiencing its worst drought in the past 1,200 years, while at the same time, food demand is expected to increase between 59 and 98 percent by 2050. Too often, funding for innovative techniques that might improve water usage is hard to access and slow to reach the experts on the ground. For example, federal programs that provide grants to agricultural producers commonly take one to two years before funding reaches the people in need. That’s where LOR’s Field Work initiative comes in.
With its Field Work initiative, the LOR Foundation is providing funding for research into innovative approaches to using water in agriculture. Farmers and ranchers throughout the rural Mountain West are encouraged to apply.

As the West grapples with unprecedented drought, the pressures facing farmers and ranchers have only increased as they contemplate their water use. To help producers address these challenges, the LOR Foundation is launching Field Work, a regional water research initiative that aims to help source — and share — solutions to the West’s water crisis.

While LOR typically supports projects in specific communities like Questa and Taos, the Field Work application is open to farmers and ranchers in rural areas and on tribal lands throughout New Mexico, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. Through the initiative, rural producers are eligible for up to $10,000 to implement innovative water projects that might address issues like water diversion, storage, delivery, application, and more. LOR’s goal is to get money quickly into the hands of the people who have potential solutions and just need a little help to implement them.

“We believe that those closest to the problem often have the best ideas. Farmers and ranchers in communities like Questa have creative, outside-the-box solutions to water challenges,” says Alex Dunlop, chief business development officer for the LOR Foundation. “Our Field Work initiative is a chance to help them put ideas into practice and help us all learn from farmers and ranchers as they are forced to work with less water in the future. We hope this will shine a light on the ideas they have to make a precious resource go further.”

Working quickly, LOR hopes this initiative reveals innovative solutions for using water efficiently to grow food in the West and sustain thriving communities. Applications for Field Work open Feb. 1. and LOR will accept proposals until Feb. 22 for projects that must be completed in 2023.

Applicants can contact the LOR Foundation at connect@lorfoundation.org with questions about Field Work and potential application proposals. For more information, visit www.lorfoundation.org/field-work/.