About The Family Farm Alliance

Alliance Distinctives

What Makes Us Effective

The Family Farm Alliance was nearly 25 years ago with one overriding ethic: Agriculture doesn't need another association, but it does need an effective, low cost grass roots group that can get the job done. That belief was our foundation and it still drives every decision we make.

To keep costs low, we hire no full time staff. All staff work is done under contract so we maintain flexibility and very low overhead. In addition, we believe that the only effective way to impact elected officials is to have them hear first-hand from farmers and ranchers. While we have outstanding legislative advisors under contract, we deliver the key messages through our members.

Recent Accomplishments

Levee safety- A proposed national levee safety program driven by the Corps of Engineers would assert control of safety over all irrigation canals in U.S., despite the existence of other safety plans already in place. The Alliance led the charge to work with Congress on the developing Water Resources Development Act, which contains language that would deny Corps jurisdiction over irrigation canals, thereby saving untold, redundant expenditures by irrigation districts Westwide. 

The Economic Importance of Western Irrigated Agriculture – a 2015 peer-reviewed economic report commissioned by the Alliance has helped elevate the critical importance of Western irrigated agriculture to the national economy and how that gives U.S. consumers more flexibility to spend money on things other than food.

The Western Drought - the Alliance is seen by policy makers as a go-to, solutions-driven organization and source of information for the drought that is crippling many parts of the West. In addition to testifying before Congressional committees on drought legislation, the Alliance was also invited to present to the White House Drought Symposium in Washington, D.C. in 2015.  

Low-head Hydroelectric Generation – regulatory challenges hamper farmers and ranchers’ efforts to develop clean, low-head, low-impact hydropower in existing water delivery systems. Beginning in 2011, the Alliance enlisted the support of Congress to expedite the common-sense solutions we are looking to achieve. President Obama in August 2013 signed into law two bills passed with near unanimous margins in the House and Senate that will streamline permitting time and costs associated with developing these types of projects. Both bills were developed with significant input from the Alliance, including invitations to testify at Congressional hearings when the bills were introduced.

Presence on Capitol Hill - Since 2005, Alliance representatives have been asked to testify before Congressional committees forty-eight times. Among other things, this presence has allowed the Alliance to influence new laws that set caps on site security costs charged to Reclamation water customers, highlight the challenges water users face due to improper administration of federal environmental laws, and ensure that streamlined regulations, science-based decision making and funding opportunities support new water development projects. The Alliance in 2015 was the only agricultural organization invited to testify before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on the Western drought – and they appeared TWICE.  

Aging Infrastructure – the Alliance was instrumental in urging Congress to pass the Rural Water Supply Act which give irrigators tools to finance aging infrastructure. We helped influence stimulus funding that provided $1 billion for Reclamation, including over $140 million addressing aging water infrastructure projects in the West. The Alliance worked with Senator Harry Reid (NEVADA) to pass a new law that authorizes the Secretary of Interior to advance the costs incurred for “extraordinary operation and maintenance work” and to repay the costs over 50-years, with interest. The Alliance was the only non-governmental organization asked to testify on this bill as it moved through committee.

Influencing National Water and Agriculture Policy -  The Alliance continues to build coalitions and create powerful alliances to advocate for irrigated agriculture, and are lead partners in the Western Agriculture and Conservation Coalition, the blue ribbon panel convened by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the AGree advisory committee, a new national high-profile initiative to transform food and agriculture policy.

Delivering Accurate and Timely Information – the Alliance has led the way in monitoring and reporting on recent alarming rule-making efforts at the Environmental Protection Agency, Corps, and the White House Council on Environmental Quality. The Alliance developed relevant, credible public statements to address them.


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