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Drought conditions threatening Venetucci Farm

By Rachael Plath, Good Morning Colorado Meteorologist/Reporter, r.plath@krdo.com
Published On: Apr 02 2013 04:46:43 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 02 2013 08:01:21 PM CDT

The persistent drought in Colorado is impacting farmers across southern Colorado, as water is becoming scarce. Venetucci Farm said they are in need of the community’s help in order to overcome the current restrictions and remain a working farm.

Severe to exceptional drought conditions continue to plague Colorado, and the scarcity of water is hitting farmers hard.

Venetucci Farm near Colorado Springs is fortunate to be built in an area where it has access to plenty of groundwater, but this year it might not be able to use it.

By law, for every gallon of groundwater pumped, Venetucci Farm must purchase an equal amount of augmentation water.  This water has been purchased from the Colorado Well Protective Development Association for decades, but this year the association said it will not be providing any water to the farm.

“It’s the first year that that has happened since the farm started about 150 years ago,” said Michael Hannigan, CEO of the Pikes Peak Community Foundation.

Hannigan said he is making calls and exhausting every resource to secure water for the upcoming year, and years to come. 

He said the best option for the farm is to purchase surface water that can be used to “self-augment” its groundwater. 

According to Hannigan, this could cost nearly $2 million over the next year.

Venetucci Farm is asking for the community’s help in raising the funds needed to keep the farm open. 

“If everybody who’s ever gotten a pumpkin at the farm could put a few dollars back to preserve the farm forever, I think the task would be manageable,” he said. 

Venetucci Farm said this is not the only farm that is struggling this year, and said the problem of attaining water is being felt across the entire farming community.

“It’s a huge problem, and it’ll impact small family farms and large farms.  It’s going to impact almost all of us,” he said.

Click here for more information on how to get involved and help raise money for Venetucci Farm.

Venetucci Farm said it is a project of the Enterprise Zone, so donations are eligible for a 25 percent Colorado state tax credit.

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