AP NEWS

The Latest: Arizona farmers make pitch for $20 million

May 16, 2019

PHOENIX (AP) — The Latest on the Arizona budget (all times local):

10:30 a.m.

Central Arizona farmers are making a last-minute plea to state lawmakers for $20 million to dig wells and build canals as they prepare to lose access to Colorado River water.

Advocates for Pinal County farmers made their plea in a news conference at the state Capitol Thursday as legislative leaders and Gov. Doug Ducey’s aides negotiate a roughly $11.5 billion budget.

Republican Rep. David Cook of Globe represents much of Pinal County. He says farmers urgently need the money to get started on construction. He says the federal government would likely reimburse the state, but farmers don’t have time to wait for the U.S. Congress to approve funding.

Farmers in the county between Phoenix and Tucson will face the most drastic cuts from a seven-state plan to protect water supplies.

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12 a.m.

Central Arizona farmers are making a last-minute plea to state lawmakers to give them millions of dollars to dig wells and build canals as they prepare to lose access to Colorado River water.

Farmers from Pinal County are scheduled to make their $20 million pitch during a news conference at the state Capitol on Thursday as lawmakers negotiate a budget.

They have the lowest-priority access to water from the drought-stricken river and will face the most drastic cuts from a seven-state plan to protect water supplies.

Lawmakers have already committed $9 million to help Pinal County farmers transition to groundwater. The farmers are asking the state for $20 million more, which they hope would be repaid in the future by the federal government.