Thanks for your interest in Ogallala Aquifer Summit!

When: 11:30 a.m. April 9 to 12:30 p.m. on April 10, 2018

Where: Clarion Inn and Conference Center in Garden City, KS

Click here for Summit announcement. 

Featured at this Summit:

• Keynote speakers Jackie McClaskey, KS Secretary of Agriculture; Don Brown, CO Commissioner of Agriculture; Jesse Bradley, Assistant Director, NE Department of Natural Resources; and Robert Mace, Chief Water Policy Officer at the Meadows Foundation (TX) (see detailed Agenda below).

• Panels focused on productive and effective water management strategies featuring producers, researchers, people in involved in planning and policy development, and water managers from across the region

• Workshops to foster exchange, build networks, and identify practical steps and opportunities to collaborate across state lines to boost the impact of efforts to manage the water-​related challenges facing the Ogallala region

• An evening social featuring KS Water Technology Farms and farmers

Who attended?

Key decision makers on water use from all 8 Ogallala/​High Plains Aquifer region states.

View participant packets (includes agenda, speaker bios, white papers as background, etc.)


Day 1 (April 9, 2018)

11:30 Doors open- Registration packet & box lunch pick-​up

11:50 Greeting and welcome: Kansas Lt. Governor Tracey Mann

A fifth generation Kansan, Tracey Mann was born and raised on his family farm in Quinter. As Lt. Governor, he is ready to work tirelessly to make Kansas a place that his children want to stay and continue their lives when they grow up.

12:05 Meeting introduction: Dan Devlin and Reagan Waskom

Dan is Director of the Kansas Center for Agricultural Resources and the Environment Kansas Water Resources Institute, Kansas State University. Reagan is the Director of the Colorado Water Institute and the CSU Water Center, Colorado State University.

12:15 Introductory panel: Cultivating Interstate Conversation

Moderator: John Stulp (Special Policy Advisor to the Governor for Water and Interbasin Compact Committee Director in the Cabinet of Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper)

Panelists: Jackie McClaskey (KS Secretary of Agriculture), Don Brown (CO Commissioner of Agriculture), and Jesse Bradley (Assistant Director, NE Department of Natural Resources)

12:35 Keynote address: From the Great American Desert to the Great American Breadbasket: Managing Groundwater in the High Plains Aquifer

Speaker: Robert Mace

Robert Mace is an Associate Director and the Chief Water Policy Officer at The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment and a Professor of Practice in the Department of Geography at Texas State University. 

1:00 Floor mic Q & A with Robert Mace and Ogallala state white paper lead authors

1:30 Table workshop session 1: Sharing our Vision for the Region

2:30 Break

2:45 Producer Panel: Water-​wise strategies for sustainable production

Moderator: Tracy Streeter (Director, Kansas Water Office)

Producer panelists:

  • Kyle Averhoff General Manager and Managing Partner of Royal Farms Dairy, Garden City, KS
  • Darren Buck Third generation producer with irrigated and dryland production operating in OK & KS
  • Ronnie Hopper Continuous no-​till producer and board member of the High Plains Underground Water Conservation District, TX
  • R.N. Hopper Continuous no-​till producer of corn, cotton, wheat and sunflowers and co-​founder and president of No-​Till Texas
  • Tom Jones Managing Member of Hy-​Plains Feedyard, LLC and Hy-​Plains Education and Research Center located near Montezuma, KS
  • Roric Paulman farms 8,500 acres near Sutherland, Nebraska and is the Chair of the Nebraska Water Balance Alliance

3:45 Floor mike Q & A with producers

4:00 Workshop session: Encouraging producer productivity & profitability while facing water challenges head-​on

5:00 Recap & key takeaway from Summit Day 1

5:15 Adjourn and walk 2 blocks to evening social

5:30-7:15 Evening Social hosted at the Sequoyah TheaterVisit with Summit attendees and participate in a moderated discussion with Kansas Water Technology Farm producers Dwane Roth and Tom Willis. Light refreshments will be served; cash bar.

Day 2 (April 10, 2018)

8:00 Introductory remarks: Tracy Streeter (Director, Kansas Water Office)

8:10: Panel- Science & data in action

Moderator: Meagan Schipanski (Colorado State University, co-​director of the USDA-​NIFA funded Ogallala Water Coordinated Agriculture Project)

Science panelists:

  • Jourdan Bell (TX A&M) Jourdan’s extension and research efforts focus on agronomic management to improve crop production and profitability on the Texas High Plains. Her research activities target varietal selection as well as changing agronomic practices in sorghum (grain and forage), wheat, cotton, and corn systems on the Texas High Plains as a result of declining regional groundwater levels. 
  • Dave Brauer (USDA-​ARS) is Supervisory Agronomist, Research Leader of the Soil and Water Management Research Unit and Acting Laboratory Director at the Conservation and Production Research Laboratory in Bushland, Texas. He has also served as the Manager of the Ogallala Aquifer Program (OAP) since 2008.
  • Jim Butler (KU-​Kansas Geological Survey) is a Senior Scientist and Chief of the Geohydrology Section of the Kansas Geological Survey at the University of Kansas, where he has worked since 1986. Over the last decade, Jim has been deeply involved in assessing the future of the High Plains aquifer in Kansas.
  • Daran Rudnick (UNL) Daran’s research focuses on improving irrigation management strategies for commonly grown crops and rotations found in the semi-​arid climate of west central Nebraska. 
  • Saleh Taghvaeian (OSU) Saleh works with Oklahoma producers to address current and emerging water management challenges (e.g. drought-​induced water scarcity, adoption of precision irrigation management techniques, and salt buildup in the root zone)
  • Jim Dobrowolski (USDA-​NIFA) Jim provides national leadership for the water and rangeland and grassland ecosystem programs focused on water quality, quantity and agricultural water security. Jim oversees the portfolio of competitive and noncompetitive water projects supported by the AFRI Water for Agriculture Challenge Program, part of the AFRI Foundational Bioenergy, Natural Resources and Environment (BENRE) and AFRI Climate Variability and noncompetitive fisheries and wildlife portfolios. He represents NIFA on the Surface Water Availability and Quality Subcommittee of CENRS and other federal water and land management teams across government.

9:00 Floor mike Q & A with science panelists

9:15 Key takeaway from science panel: table workshop

9:30 Break

9:40 Youth Challenge to water managers: Grace Roth, KS Youth Water Advocate

9:50 Policy panel: What’s working & new developments

Moderator: Susan Metzger, Kansas State University


  • Rebecca Davis (Topeka, KS Risk Management Agency)
  • Syed Huq (Water Resources Director, Rosebud Sioux Tribe, SD)
  • Rod Lenz (Water Preservation Partnership and Republican River Water Conservation District, CO)
  • Ray Luhman (Groundwater Management District 4, northwest KS)
  • Steven Walthour (North Plains Groundwater Conservation District, TX)

10:40 Floor mike Q & A with policy panelists

10:50-12:15 Capstone conversation & workshop: What’s an “Aqui-​for”?

Moderator: John Heaston, Aquamart

During this session the Summit attendees will work to synthesize information shared throughout the meeting and identify practical next steps and messaging necessary to carry the conversation and engagement forward beyond the Summit. 

12:15 Closing words

12:30 Adjourn

Questions? Please contact amy.​kremen@​colostate.​edu 

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