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
 

We think the Family Farm Alliance gives our contributors a huge bang for their buck. And we have a proven track record of success that includes fifty-five invitations to appear before Congress since 2005. In addition to the key accomplishments described in the “2016 Activities and Accomplishments” booklet, the Alliance has made notable progress in the following areas of critical interest to Western water users:

“Waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) Rulemaking. The Family Farm Alliance shares many of the views expressed by the states, agricultural organizations and others in the regulated community that, in many ways, the final “Waters of the U.S.” rule expands federal jurisdiction over most waters under the Clean Water Act (CWA).  Small tributaries, adjacent waters and isolated wetlands and ponds will automatically become jurisdictional “waters of the U.S.” under the final rule and not be subject to any interpretational significant nexus analysis.  While many of these waters would be determined to be jurisdictional anyway under previous regulations, the larger issue is the final rule’s categorical determination that certain waters are de facto “waters of the U.S.” by rule without further analysis or due process. However, the Alliance in the past two years has also worked constructively with EPA to ensure that, regardless of what happens with the various court proceedings, assurances will remain that allow for construction and maintenance of irrigation ditches and the maintenance of drainage ditches consistent with Section 404(f) of the CWA. 

Water Rights.  The Alliance in 2015 released its final water rights paper, intended to demonstrate the importance of the existing system, show that it actually works, and try to rebut growing arguments by some of our critics that the system should be scrapped and replaced with something like the “Australia model”, which has been a failure.  

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 – we are 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 participate in the White House Water Forum in Washington, D.C. in March 2016. 

Delivering Accurate and Timely Information – the Alliance has led the way in monitoring and reporting on recent alarming rule-making efforts at federal agencies. We have developed relevant, credible public statements to address them.

Farmers and ranchers and the businesses they rely upon face enough challenges, let alone worrying about whether or not once-certain water supplies will be available to support their operations. On the other hand, there are countless environmental activist groups – many with budgets in the tens of millions of dollars- who are doing everything in their power to influence courts, media and politicians in order to reallocate water supplies away from agriculture.

Your contributions matter. Whether you support the Alliance’s advocacy, outreach or education efforts, you can rest assured that your tax-deductible contribution will promote the protection of Western irrigated agriculture and the strong rural communities that it supports.

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