Welcome to Water + Energy Progress

Water + Energy Progress Awards identify and spotlight innovations in energy efficiency and water conservation on Kansas farms and ranches.


Learn more about organizations and practices focusing on water and energy in agriculture. 


USDA Rural Utilities Service Administrator, John Padalino, shares his thoughts on water and energy issues in rural communities.

Ecology and the economy: Pete Ferrell

The Ferrell Ranch is a multi-purpose property operating as both a cattle ranch and a wind farm. Ferrell’s 7,000 acre native tallgrass prairie in south central Kansas is home to the Elk River Wind Farm. The ranch is 100% native prairie with no planted, non-native acreage. Intensive rotational grazing and an annual land management plan ensure that the pastures have ample rest and recovery between grazings. Updated according to climatic conditions, the plan prioritizes the health of the land and the surrounding ecosystem.

The turbines on Pete’s property produce enough renewable energy to power 42,000 homes. The wind farm diversified the ranch’s income stream which provides some economic security during drought periods, as Pete will happily point out, "The wind blows even in a drought.” This security offers the flexibility to prioritize land preservation and to focus on the health of the soil and the entire ecosystem when making stocking decisions. The Ferrell ranch is a model of the idea that what is good for the ecology creates a sustainable economy. 

Read all about it here!

Wendell Nicholas & Eldon Schmidt

Pioneers in the Field: Subsurface Drip Irrigation

March 2014

Richard Wenstrom

Pioneers in the field: Irrigation Scheduling

February 2014

Darrin Unruh

Collaborative Conservation

January 2014