U.S. Senator Ben Sasse, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, released the following statement on April 18 regarding the Bureau of Reclamation’s new designation of funds requested for the Gering-Ft. Laramie irrigation canal as emergency funds after Senators Sasse and Fischer and Representative Adrian Smith urged the Bureau to make this designation. 

“This is great news for the water users in the Gering-Ft. Laramie Irrigation District. The farmers and ranchers in this area have slogged through a season of uncertainty, wondering if there would be enough water for sugar beets, corn, dry beans and alfalfa. With the work that is needed to get the repairs completed before the 2020 irrigation season, this is good news from the Bureau of Reclamation and provides some peace of mind to western Nebraska,” said Senator Sasse. 

"On be behalf of the land owners, we appreciate the work of our congressional delegation for the efforts to secure this funding. This 35 percent designated as a grant will be appreciated and is a relief for landowners," said Robert Busch, land-owner and Board Member of the Gering-Ft. Laramie Irrigation District.

Background:

U.S. Senators Ben Sasse and Deb Fischer and Representative Adrian Smith wrote a letter to Regional Director Michael Black at the Bureau of Reclamation in March 2020 requesting that the $2.3 million received be designated emergency funding. The Gering-Ft. Laramie Irrigation District has been working hard since last summer to make repairs before the start of the 2020 irrigation season.  With the new emergency designation, 35 percent of the funding will be non-reimbursable, saving the irrigation district approximately $800,000.