Four States Irrigation Council honors ag, water infrastructure leaders |

Four States Irrigation Council honors ag, water infrastructure leaders

Northern Water

The Four States Irrigation Council this winter once again took time to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions in the irrigation, agriculture and water infrastructure industries.

During the Four States Jan. 12 awards banquet, the organization distributed its annual Headgate awards, which are given to industry leaders in each of the four states (Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska and Wyoming) who have been active in and supportive of irrigation and water resources development.

Each year, the Four States awards banquet takes place as part of the organization’s broader two-day annual meeting in Fort Collins, Colo. This year’s banquet also included the awarding of the 2023 Ditchrider honor, which recognizes individuals specifically for their strong support of the Four States Irrigation Council, as well as a Special Award of Appreciation from Four States.

The 2023 Four States award winners included:

Colorado Headgate Award – Dale Trowbridge

Trowbridge is retiring this year as manager of the New Cache La Poudre Irrigating Company and its subsidiaries, which deliver water to about 32,000 irrigated acres north of Greeley, Colo. Altogether Trowbridge has spent 30 years at New Cache, serving as its manager for the past 12 years. In addition to his role at New Cache, Trowbridge’s involvement in the ag and water worlds has extended into many other capacities, including serving in various director and supporting roles for Northern Water and its Municipal Subdistrict, the Poudre Runs Through It Working Group, Cache La Poudre Water Users Association, Ditch and Reservoir Company Alliance and other organizations. 

Kansas Headgate Award – David Gensler

Gensler has made many contributions during his long career in the water industry, and his most recent efforts, like many of his others, will have large and lasting impacts. Gensler, who works for Control Design Inc. is credited with going above and beyond in providing guidance for the Kansas Bostwick Irrigation District in Courtland, Kan., as the district, which serves a 42,500-acre area, implemented many water-saving automation projects. Gensler’s career in the water industry dates back long before his time at Control Design, having previously worked for the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District in Albuquerque, N.M., for 25 years as a hydrologist and as the district’s water operations manager.

Nebraska Headgate Award – Mike Wells

Since 1987, Wells has worked for the Twin Loups Reclamation and Twin Loups Irrigation districts, which deliver water to 56,122 irrigated acres in central Nebraska. Wells started working at the districts 33 years ago as a ditchrider, and eventually worked his way up to his current position as general manger. In addition to his role at Twin Loups, Wells’s engagement in the ag and water worlds over the years has extended to serving as president of the Loup Basin Surface Water Development Association, and as a longtime director and past president of the Four States Irrigation Council. Wells has also been a longtime contributor and supporter of the Nebraska State Irrigation Association.

Wyoming Headgate Award – Andrea Janes

Janes is the cost accountant for the Goshen Irrigation District, which serves 52,484 acres of irrigated lands in Goshen County, Wyoming. Janes, who has worked at Goshen Irrigation since 2005, is credited by her fellow staff and others for playing a huge role in the funding and contractor coordination that helped launch critical recovery efforts following the collapse of the Bureau of Reclamation’s Goshen Gering-Fort Laramie Irrigation Tunnel. That tunnel services the Goshen Irrigation District, as well as the Gering-Fort Laramie Irrigation District, and collapsed in the middle of the 2019 irrigation season.

Ditchrider Award – Brad Wind

Northern Water, based in Berthoud, Colo., has been a key supporter of the Four States Irrigation Council since it was initiated in 1952, and has expanded its supporting role even more so in recent years, in terms of committing staff, time and resources to the group. The district’s decision to remain committed to Four States comes from the very top at Northern Water, through General Manager Brad Wind. Without Wind and previous general managers prioritizing Northern Water’s support of Four States, the organization wouldn’t be what it is today. Northern Water’s support has helped Four States grow from the 52 participants that attended the first meeting 70 years ago, to the 200-plus that now attend.

Special Award of Appreciation from the Four States Irrigation Council – Roxanne Morrissey

Morrissey is the financial manager for the Bureau of Reclamation’s Missouri Basin Region, and for the past four years she has been a dynamic adviser to the Four States Irrigation Council. Morrissey was instrumental in arranging the participation of reclamation’s federal, regional and local leaders at the annual meetings in order to update members on current issues and programs of major interest to the group. Among many other contributions at the Four States annual meetings, Morrissey in recent years facilitated the honored appearances of Tanya Trujillo, assistant secretary for water and science of the Department of the Interior, and Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Touton.

The Four States Irrigation Council, established in 1952, serves as a forum for farmers, ditch and irrigation company representatives, water district employees and board members, engineers, university professors, extension agents, government officials and others to discuss water-delivery and irrigation-related issues, exchange ideas and develop solutions. The Four States annual meeting is held each January to discuss big-picture water-infrastructure issues, as well as more specific industry topics.

Four States – which also hosts biennial summer tours – promotes the wise use of the nation’s water resources and encourages effective and diverse use of this limited resource. Improving agricultural conservation, promoting more efficient use of water, and balancing these needs with aquatic and wildlife concerns are all priorities of Four States.

Membership is open to anyone who attends our events, and there are no annual dues or membership fees. To learn more, go to

More Like This, Tap A Topic