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In a recent Podium, Colorado’s agriculture commissioner Kate Greenberg claimed that I had suggested that farmers were a "threat" to the state’s water supplies ("Big money eyeing Colorado's water," Jan. 13). Nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, I said only two things about farmers in a recent published commentary on the state’s water crisis. I applauded Colorado farmers who are shifting to less water-intensive crops and becoming more efficient in their irrigation. And I said the state should incentivize farmers willing to do more to save water.

It’s important to note that this is precisely what Ms. Greenberg advocated in her own report “How Young Farmers and Ranchers Are Essential to Tackling Water Scarcity in the Arid West.” In that publication, in response to growing water shortage concerns in the Colorado River basin, Greenberg strongly advocates that states should “strengthen incentives for on-farm water conservation & efficiency.”

Some readers of my comments — apparently including Greenberg — were led astray by the headline, which was written by the publication's editors: “Western Slope needs to suspend irrigation to avert water shortage catastrophe.” As a high-ranking public official, Greenberg should know that authors almost never get to write the headlines for their newspaper articles, and in this case a misleading title was chosen for mine. The headline belies my words, and I encourage all to read what I said more carefully.

I believe Ms. Greenberg knows that our conservation motives are in fact closely aligned, but she chose instead to misrepresent and sensationalize my position. I’m hoping we can dial down the misleading posturing and start to listen to each other better.

Brian Richter

Crozet, Virginia

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