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I go to City College of New York and needless to say there are very few courses in agriculture. I am a geology major and part of what I am interested in in the intersection between hydrogeology and agriculture. Most specifically irrigation. So I was thinking about possibly working on a farm for a summer through WWOOF or some other agency in Arizona or Nevada or somewhere where irrigation is a big thing for the summer. Would I actually learn what I need to learn by doing this?


I don't speak up much in this group, but it is my opinion that you would. I grew up in a valley that, at one time, had a high water table due to the geology of the region. After rice was put into the equation, the amount of water needed for the operations dropped the water level significantly, and the Pit River in Big Valley is a mere trickle compared to what it had been before. A drought cannot be responsible for all of the water level drop, as I have already seen what extended drought did to the area long previous to the "new" (it has been several years now) rice paddies.

I would be interested in hearing other's opinions if they differ though.
Thank you! I grew up in New England so my experience of water is very different from the American Southwest which is part of the reason I would be interested in being out there for the summer.
My family is split between New England and California wine country. I think this could be invaluable experience. Here in the Livermore valley we have perfect grape growing conditions but 10 inches of rain per year on average. The valley has every soil type you can name...including tremendous variation in soil pH. The Central valley of California has dropped over 50 feet in the southern end from over pumping groundwater without allowing adequate recharge. Read the Cadillac Desert if you have not...great treatment of the main issues.
I just read the book. It was very dense policy wise. I thought it was an excellent overview of water problems in places not New England and the Mid-Atlantic. Not to mention the interesting bits at the end about Egypt.
Irrigation is not just an issue for "arid" states. Soil types and crops enter into the equation - in Wisconsin we have sandy soils growing potatoes amidst irrigation. Would you learn working just on a farm or just through an agency? Probably not. It would be helpful if you could make an effort to see the picture through several layers of organization. Be sure to investigate the governmental agencies responsible for agriculture, water or natural resources. Growers' associations are another potential source.
Thank you. I will look into those.



Have you also considered studying Hydro-geology? It may be easier to study the fundamentals of water and its interaction with the ground and then study the vegetation that affects it. ...Only a thought.

Re: Alternative

That is what I am studying. It is difficult to address hydrogeology without addressing irrigation though.

March 2011

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