Ag chief knows future water issues will be market-driven |

Ag chief knows future water issues will be market-driven

John Barrette

The head of Nevada’s Department of Agriculture said Wednesday water issues will be market-driven, the Silver State is agribusiness-friendly and a food revolution is under way.

Jim Barbee, the department’s director since mid-2011, spoke briefly and fielded questions at a Northern Nevada Development Authority breakfast in Carson City.

He followed his boss, Gov. Brian Sandoval, to the podium after Sandoval said agriculture is going to be an economic development driver in Nevada.

“There’s a food revolution afoot,” said Barbee, noting part of that is because people seek healthier food in their diets. He said it is time to revitalize state agriculture.

Fielding questions, Barbee indicated this water-challenged state must use it well, for example with better production techniques.

Of the overall issue, he added, “The market’s going to drive that.”

Barbee characterized Nevada as a good state for agriculture and related business from both a tax and regulatory perspective.

“It is a priority and has been a priority the last two years, and will continue to be a priority,” he said.

He also called the breakfast gathering, the 2013 agriculture report officially received Wednesday by the governor, and the chances it points to in economic development “so significant for the industry.”