On the 10,000 acre Dee River Ranch, located along the Mississippi-Alabama state line near Aliceville, Ala., the future of irrigation technology is in place today.

From a 120-acre reservoir to collect winter/spring rains, to a computer-controlled 12,500 gallons per minute pumping station that can deliver irrigation water tailored to crop, weather, and soil conditions for up to 15 center pivots, to a super-fast electronic “cloud” that allows people and devices to communicate with each other over a 20 square mile area (or anywhere in the world with Internet access), the state of the art system is designed for maximum automation, using  the minimum amount of water to get maximum results, with as little energy consumption as possible.

“We’re dedicated to conservation and environmentally friendly farming,” said Annie Dee, who with her brother, Mike, runs the operation whose ownership includes 10 other Dee brothers and sisters.

“This project will help us to reduce risks and make our farming operation more efficient and sustainable,” she said at a recent field day to dedicate the system and give the ag community a look at the technology it incorporates. An estimated 300 persons from Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, and other states attended the event.

“Agriculture and the Dee family go back to our great-grandfather who farmed in Iowa,” she said. “We later had an operation in Florida, which was sold, and now we have fourth and fifth generations farming here, with sixth generation children on the ground.

“What’s important to us is sustainability, conserving land and water resources. We’re growing corn, soybeans, and wheat, and this year — even though I said we’d never grow it again — we’ll be back in cotton.

“We’re pleased to be partnered with the Lindsay Corporation in this outstanding irrigation project, and their various divisions that were able to give us a tailor-made package system.”

Mike Dee said, “our goal is to go beyond sustainability — each year, we’re putting money into improvements, technology, and cropping programs that use minimal resources and put as much back into the land as possible for future generations.

“Here in the rain belt, we have abundant water, but unfortunately it too often comes at the wrong time.  Rather than letting winter and spring rains escape, we want to capture and use that water for crop production. Reservoirs such as the one we have here are another way to capitalize on opportunities by catching and using rainfall that would otherwise just run downstream.

“A lot of smart people have been a part of designing this system, and we believe the long term benefits of this kind of technology can be enormous for U.S. agriculture.”