02 Apr Recognizing role of irrigation

In Henderson City Park, located in Henderson, Nebraska, is a unique bronze sculpture of a farmer and two children setting siphon tubes from an irrigation ditch. It was placed there in 2006 in recognition of the importance of irrigation to this central Nebraska community.

The effort began three years ago when local business people and farmers got together and decided to pay tribute to the early irrigation pioneers. John Goertzen, a member of the planning committee, says it was a no-brainer that they turned to Friesen, a well-known local artist to fashion the sculpture.

Friesen’s studio and gallery are in the middle of town.“The opportunity to do a major art project in your hometown is a big deal to me,”says Friesen. Designing the bronze sculpture did not require a lot of reflection for Friesen, considering his experience as a young boy in setting siphon tubes on the family farm. “The siphon tubes [held by the girl in the sculpture] are real tubes used by Dad and myself. One of my goals was to
portray a family working together, in addition to paying tribute to early irrigation pioneers and companies,” he says.

State Sen. Elaine Stuhr of nearby Bradshaw called Henderson City the irrigation center of Nebraska. “Irrigation provides the ability to generate wealth. Where we see irrigation, we see prosperous communities,” she says. The community effort over the past three years raised $72,000 to help fund the project, according Goertzen. McCabe is a Farm Progress editor.

Bronze sculpture of a farmer and two children setting siphon tubes from an irrigation ditch
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