Agricultural Irrigators of the Gallatin Valley

The mission of the Association of Gallatin Agricultural Irrigators is to be the guardian and advocate of the Gallatin River System through the protection of its historically decreed water rights.

History 

When settlers first arrived in the Gallatin Valley in the 1860’s, most of the valley was dry.  Realizing the potential of the fertile soil, neighbors worked together with shovels and mules to create the extensive and dynamic irrigation system that serves this valley today.  Fourth and fifth generation farmers, as well as new comers, continue to produce vital crops and livestock here in the Gallatin valley and rely on the canal system to do so.  The maintenance and care of the ditches is shared among the water rights holders on each ditch.

The Association of Gallatin Agricultural Irrigators was formed in 2004 to protect decreed water rights, continuing the heritage of working together, to be a thought leader on water policy issues and to be of service to our membership.

Knowledge 

For four and five generations, Gallatin Irrigators have managed the canals that distribute that water throughout the valley.  The flow of water throughout the valley nourishes crops and, by raising the level of the aquifer, helps to keep the valley green.  Water conveyance is both science and art, and our irrigators have the skill and knowledge of how to direct the water and put it to beneficial use.  We do so for our own livelihood but also to create food and maintain open space.  We understand the rivers and streams and have generational knowledge of channel migration, ice jams, floods and droughts.  We are here as a resource to our community in understanding irrigation and water conveyance.

Stewardship 

We take our role as stewards of the land and of water seriously.  As one of our directors has said, farmers were the first environmentalists, the first conservationists.  Water is a unique and special resource entrusted to water rights holders by the State of Montana. We are proud members of our community and are dedicated to preserving the system of water conveyance that has served our community for over 150 years.  Many of our great, great grandfathers built the two thousand miles of ditches that allowed agriculture to flourish.  Some of those ditches now run through subdivisions but the responsibility of maintaining them remains with the decreed water rights holders.  The Association of Gallatin Agricultural Irrigators is here to lead with integrity in water stewardship.

Community

Agriculture is the foundation of our community here in the Gallatin Valley. It is the reason we enjoy the open space that makes our home so special.  The ditches themselves help create our lush and productive landscape during the summer months of irrigation.  Gallatin Irrigators work with the West Gallatin Water Commissioner to keep in-stream flows for wildlife.  We are all in this together and can join in partnership to solve water issues as they arise.

We work locally to educate the municipal and county planners about the benefits of the network of ditches that runs through our valley.  Our Association is a community of people who care about water and land.  We actively engage with various other non-profits and community members to shape the future of the Gallatin Valley to preserve open space and ensure that the water flows.

Stewardship 

We take our role as stewards of the land and of water seriously.  As one of our directors has said, farmers were the first environmentalists, the first conservationists.  Water is a unique and special resource entrusted to water rights holders by the State of Montana. We are proud members of our community and are dedicated to preserving the system of water conveyance that has served our community for over 150 years.  Many of our great, great grandfathers built the two thousand miles of ditches that allowed agriculture to flourish.  Some of those ditches now run through subdivisions but the responsibility of maintaining them remains with the decreed water rights holders.  The Association of Gallatin Agricultural Irrigators is here to lead with integrity in water stewardship.

Community

Agriculture is the foundation of our community here in the Gallatin Valley. It is the reason we enjoy the open space that makes our home so special.  The ditches themselves help create our lush and productive landscape during the summer months of irrigation.  Gallatin Irrigators work with the West Gallatin Water Commissioner to keep in-stream flows for wildlife.  We are all in this together and can join in partnership to solve water issues as they arise.

We work locally to educate the municipal and county planners about the benefits of the network of ditches that runs through our valley.  Our Association is a community of people who care about water and land.  We actively engage with various other non-profits and community members to shape the future of the Gallatin Valley to preserve open space and ensure that the water flows.

Gallatin Irrigators keep the River wet and the Valley Green

 Irrigators on the West Gallatin work with the Water Commissioner to maintain instream flows for fish and recreation.  Irrigation recharges the aquifer, raising the water table and allowing plant life throughout the valley to flourish.

Members are the Backbone

Communication and participation from all AGAI members is beneficial to the organization and to the community.  If you have water rights and want to learn more about how AGAI is involved to leading the discussion on water rights policy, locally and in Helena, contact us.

What’s AGAI up to?

Stay in the loop with regular updates from the AGAI team regarding current events, news and legislative updates. 

Newsletters

July 2019 Newsletter

Reflections from the PRESIDENT: With the ongoing mission to be guardian and advocate of the Gallatin River System through the protection of historically decreed water rights the current AGAI Board members are actively recruiting new committee members and Board...

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Legislative News

Current Events

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