Irrigation was an easy decision for Barb Stefanyshyn-Cote when starting Black Fox Farm and Distillery eight years ago with her husband.
“It was the first thing we put into the farm, when we bought this piece of property,” Stefanyshyn-Cote said.
The farm southwest of Saskatoon has 80 acres under irrigation, growing everything from pumpkins and flowers to raspberries and haskaps for liqueurs.
“We grow 90 per cent of what goes into our bottles and that’s what sets us apart from other distillers. It’s because of the irrigation that allows us to do that, so we can produce and have a reliable crop.”
With the Saskatoon area under moderate drought conditions, Stefanyshyn-Cote said irrigation “buys you the peace of mind that you can produce a crop whether you’re going to get rain or not.”
Stefanyshyn-Cote explained her farm’s underground drip irrigation system to more than 30 people on a tour of irrigation sites around Saskatoon.
Thursday’s tour was one part of the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage (ICID) conference taking place in Saskatoon this week.
Nearly 500 experts from 41 countries gathered to share agriculture water management strategies.
The conference hosted three days of technical sessions at TCU Place showcasing innovative and adaptive irrigation.
Speakers from around the world discussed topics such as the impact of climate change on irrigation and agriculture, as well as drainage and flood control strategies.
“As the water resources in the world remains the same, the populations are growing and therefore we need to find solutions, and methodologies and technologies to address to constantly supply food,” ICID president Felix Reinders said.
The ICID world forum will be hosted in Indonesia next year.
The last ICID gathering in Canada was held in Montreal in 2002.