Irrigation Association names scholarship winners

Association news | Summer 2023

Read about summer 2022 updates in the ag industry from the Irrigation Association.

The Irrigation Association awarded 18 scholarships May 8 through the 2023 Anthony W. “Tony” LaFetra Scholarship Program, sponsored by Rain Bird. In its seventh year, the program highlighted deserving recipients studying and pursuing careers in the irrigation field.

The 18 students are from colleges and universities around the United States and are enrolled in associate to graduate programs with an irrigation focus. The scholarships, ranging from $1,000 to $3,000, were awarded to students who have shown a passion and interest in sustainability, stewardship and use of water, and the essential contributions irrigated landscapes and irrigated agriculture have in improving the quality of life through a reliable global food supply and vital green spaces.

Congratulations to the winners of the 2023 Anthony W. “Tony” LaFetra Scholarship Program

  • Matthew Antunes – University of Connecticut, Anthony W. “Tony” LaFetra Scholar
  • Cameron Lowrey – California Polytechnic State University, Anthony W. “Tony” LaFetra Scholar
  • Darren Baty – California State University, Fresno
  • Matthew Frazier – San Jose State University
  • Lauren Fuhrman – Kansas State University
  • Adrian Gomez – Oklahoma State University
  • Emily Hanson – University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Miller Hayes – University of Georgia
  • Nathan James – Colorado State University
  • Loretta Klecker – Michigan State University
  • Idalia Navarro – California State University, Fresno
  • Josie Prince – Clemson University
  • Cynthia Robbins – Saddleback College/MiraCosta College
  • Travis Roberson – Virginia Polytechnic University
  • Mary Rodriguez – MiraCosta College
  • Zachary Sannar – Utah State University
  • Margaret Usher – California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
  • Hattie Witherell – Oklahoma State University

Registration and housing opens July 12

Registration and housing for the 2023 Irrigation Show and Education Week in San Antonio, Texas, opens July 12. The annual event takes place Nov. 27-Dec. 1 at the Henry B. González Convention Center, where thousands of irrigation professionals will gather for five days of innovation, networking and education.

The popular trade show will feature leading irrigation companies, including tech startups looking to share emerging technologies with the industry. Register today to save with early bird registration; growers are eligible for free show registration.

The Irrigation Association has partnered with Connections Housing to offer discounted hotel rates for the 2023 Irrigation Show and Education Week. All hotels are conveniently located near the convention center. Attendees should book their room through Connections Housing, the official show housing company, for access to exclusive discounts. Find more information by visiting

Nathan Bowen promoted to IA advocacy and public affairs vice president

Nathan Bowen
Nathan Bowen, IA advocacy and public affairs vice president

Nathan Bowen has been promoted to advocacy and public affairs vice president for the Irrigation Association. Bowen joined the IA in 2022 as the organization’s advocacy director.

In this role, Bowen is responsible for planning and executing the strategic direction of the initiatives focused on the IA’s public affairs, government relations, and standards and codes efforts. Bowen continues his work serving as the chief lobbyist for the IA and leading the association’s government relations work at the federal, state and local levels. In addition, Bowen will spearhead the IA’s public affairs efforts that help share the positive impact of irrigated agriculture and irrigated landscapes and drive messaging for the industry and consumers.

“We are excited to have Nathan help build on our efforts to share the story of the positive contributions of the irrigation industry,” says Natasha Rankin, MBA, CAE, Irrigation Association chief executive officer. “Our increased emphasis on external affairs is a demonstration of the IA’s commitment to our new strategic direction to elevate the impact and value of the industry with decision-makers from Capitol Hill to the grower and consumer.”

In addition to his advocacy and public affairs responsibilities, Bowen will also manage the industry’s participation in standards and code development initiatives, working with aligned organizations, standard-setting bodies and industry experts.

“I am thrilled to take on this expanded position at the IA and amplify the irrigation industry’s priorities with decision-makers in Washington and around the country,” said Bowen. “I look forward to working with our members and stakeholders to tell our industry’s story about the value that irrigated agriculture and landscapes bring to our people and communities across the country and around the world.”




Gains made, ground to cover

As representatives of the irrigation industry, we are not just advocates for our sector; we are stewards of a resource that sustains life.

Gradually and then suddenly

Here, I’ll share a couple of anecdotes that serve as bookends to some of my current thinking and research on aquifer depletion.

With a glass half full

These definitions highlight the challenges associated with maximizing profitability when irrigating with limited water supplies.