Northern Colorado In Limbo

Published online: Apr 30, 2003
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Northern Colorado growers, waiting out goodly rains this week, are also waiting out a Supreme Court appeal to see if they can grow crops this year.

Sugarbeet and potato growers in the greater Greeley, CO, area are impacted.

A final ruling was issued today [64 pages still being deciphered] that will outline the use of northern Colorado ground water for the coming growing season.

Although late, the judgment could allow for some planting of sugarbeets and potatoes in the area by growers who were prohibited from running wells this year by the state of Colorado.

Senior water rights holders have been complaining about the draw down of water tables and low surface water flow, since the area is in a three-year drought cycle.

The impact will be great for the sugarbeet industry. Western Sugar Cooperative has “furloughed” its factory at Greeley and also the one at Bayard, NE, until water rights rulings can be made.

WSC has made plans that if growers can obtain water for beet crops, they will either keep both factories open or transfer any beets grown to the Fort Morgan, CO, and Scottsbluff, NE, factories for processing.