Neil Dimick of New Braunfels, Texas, a pioneer in irrigation water management, passed away on April 4. 2014, at the age of 87. Neil became a key contributor of professional accomplishments to irrigation water management because of his involvement with USAID in Pakistan beginning in 1967. Consequent to previous work by USAID in Turkey, Neil was the leader in bringing small scraper and land plane units to Pakistan for development and refinement in an evolving new farm water management program.
Neil found small industries in Pakistan, particularly Ghazi industry, that were willing to continuously become involved in improving the effectiveness of the machines needed for precision leveling of small fields. This included with time the adaptation of the land leveling machines to laser controls for improved precision leveling operations.
Neil worked with the industries to improve the machines. He also became involved in identifying groups supporting farmers to help provide them with precision land leveling services. This involved finding young engineers who could be trained to provide effective land leveling services. His dedication, service, cooperation, and collaboration to effectively train and support these personnel and their needs became a keynote of his involvement in ensuring the success of this effort. Today, there are many precision leveled fields in Pakistan with private entities providing an effective service and larger and larger areas of farms and fields that are precision leveled. Neiil also supported the development of supplemental equipment that provided farmers with the capability to use tractor power for more effective farming operations.
Precision leveled fields are essential to good water management and optimum crop production. Having the equipment and supporting units that effectively provide this service is an essential part of productive irrigated agriculture. The precision land leveling (PLL) service and supporting units became the necessary components for water conservation and increasing food production.
There were many individuals and units that contributed to an effective irrigation water management program especially the farm water management program that evolved in Pakistan. The plan that provided effective equipment and personnel for precision leveled fields was a key to the success of this effort. Hence, this supported on-site demonstrations of the process to local farmers in their own fields. Farmers often saved several times the water normally used for irrigation and increased yields by several magnitudes. These impacts created interest, participation and effective programs for farmers, Pakistani officials in supporting organizations, and donor units involved in Pakistan. Neil’s precision land leveling technology was one of the key keys to this success. Today, increased farm areas are precision leveled every year using Neil’s technology.
The impact of this program in Pakistan caused many donor organizations and countries to make farm water management and improved irrigation water management the key emphasis of development in countries around the world. Previous to the Pakistan Program, farm water management was left out of most such development programs. Pakistan now exports many precision land leveling units to other countries.
Neil Dimick was involved in similar programs in Egypt from 1977 to 1982 and in India from 1982 to1986. Precision land leveling technologies were key components in these farm water management programs. In Egypt he was awarded a Meritorious Honor Award by the U. S. Agency for International Development for his work in irrigation water management. His emphases in adapting and improving precision land leveling in Egypt and India were an important part of his contribution.
Neil’s professional career began with his work in irrigation water management while completing his B. S. and M. S. in agricultural engineering at South Dakota State University. He then worked for ten years for the Agricultural Research Service of the U. S. Department of Agriculture. His initial international work in Pakistan was with Tipton and Kalmbach, an engineering consulting firm. He then began his work with USAID.
Neil and Lillian Dimick had three sons, Craig, Brad, and Dan. Craig, and his wife, Thea have two daughters, Crystal and Carmel. Carmel has given Neil two great grand children, Sierra and Landon. Brad and Laurene have one daughter, Abigail. Dan and Jayne have two children, Daisy and Donald. Neil was preceded in death by Lillian in 2004. His wife, Theresa, survives him. Theresa and Neil were married in 2007. Their children include Renee Luciani Psaras and Marcia Luciani. Their granddaughters include Nicole Chammas and Samantha Chammas.