The Family Farm Alliance regularly produces reports and white papers intended to educate our members, allies and policy makers on issues important to Western irrigated agriculture. Click on to the links below to download and print PDF versions of these reports:
"Western Farmers and Ranchers as Problem Solvers" (2016)
The Family Farm Alliance on March 22, 2016 participated in the White House Water Summit to raise awareness of water issues and potential solutions in the United States, and to catalyze ideas and actions to help build a sustainable and secure water future through innovative science and technology. The Obama Administration hosted the Summit in conjunction with the United Nations World Water Day. The Alliance's report was linked in a White House press release. It is a compilation of case studies in several states (CALIFORNIA, COLORADO, NEW MEXICO, OREGON, WASHINGTON, and WYOMING) that highlight real-world examples of water conservation, water transfers and markets, aging infrastructure problems, watershed restoration, and ecosystem enhancement on Western farms and ranches.
"A Road Map Towards Securing the Future of Western Irrigated Agriculture" (2015)
This brief, hard-hitting report was widely circulated to policy makers in Washington, D.C. and Western states as a policy guide for the new Congress in January 2015.
"Innovations in Agricultural Stewardship: Stories of Conservation & Drought Resilience in the Arid West" (2015)
Co-authored with the National Young Farmers Coalition and completed with funding support from the Walton Family Foundation, this report investigates how family farm and ranch operations in the West are finding unique solutions to save water and improve soil health.
"The Economic Importance of Western Irrigated Agriculture - 2015 Update" (2015)
Developed by the Pacific Northwest Project for the Family Farm Alliance, this report describes the remarkable contributions Western irrigated agriculture makes to the national economy, household income, and the ability for U.S. consumers to pay less of their disposable income on food than anywhere else in the world.
"Colorado River Basin Water Management - Principles and Recommendations" (2015)
Developed over an 18-month period with input from irrigators in all the Colorado River Basin states, this report articulates our principles for smart, effective management of water resources in the Colorado River Basin to help decision-makers in the Basin deal with the harsh realities of current and future water shortages due to drought and over-allocation of water to growing, predominantly municipal, demands. Even with all of the various water users’ perspectives on demand management and other issues in the Colorado River Basin, there is support for the main drivers behind the Alliance’s policy thrust summarized in eight principles. Based on these principles, there are four common recommendations that we believe will be critical to successful drought and water shortage management efforts in the Colorado River Basin.
The California drought is not simply the result of Mother Nature or climate change. Recent federal management of Bay-Delta water and the policies behind that management also play an important role. Written by Alliance Executive Director Dan Keppen and Dr. Tricia Dutcher, this peer-reviewed article was published in 2015 in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences.
"The Argument for the Prior Appropriation Doctrine to Allocate Water in the Western U.S." (2015)
This paper, prepared with input from water managers and attorneys from throughout the West, counters common criticisms to the Western water rights system and explains why the prior appropriation doctrine....works.
"Securing the Future of Western Agriculture - the Perspective of Western Producers", (2014).
Published in cooperation with AGree, a national agricultural think tank consisting of diverse experts who seek to develop shared strategies for achieving transformative change, this report - authored by Alliance President Pat O'Toole (a Wyoming rancher who sits on the AGree Advisory Board) and Alliance Executive Director Dan Keppen - addresses the water resources, land management, labor and bureaucratic challenges that are unique to the Western U.S.
"Twenty Questions on Water Storage Projects: A White Paper that Provides Straightforward Answers to Questions and the Need to Prepare the Western U.S. for Future Droughts" (2014)
This report provides answers to any question you may have regarding water storage projects, and takes on some of the most popular myths that critics of dams have advanced in recent years.
"Endangered Species Act Implementation in the Western U.S. - Looking for Answers to Modernize and Improve the ESA for Species and People" (2014)
Current implementation and litigation surrounding the federal Endangered Species Act is perhaps the primary challenge facing Western water users. This report provides detailed background and specific recommendations on how to make this 40-plus year old law really work - for the species it is intended to protect, and for rural communities.
"Western Water Management Case Studies (2010)
Sometimes, real-life examples provide the best stories of how successful water policy should be fashioned and implemented. This report shows how individual farmers, ranchers and irrigation districts are tackling tough water challenges throughout the Western U.S.
"Water Supply in a Changing Climate: The Perspective of Family Farmers and Ranchers in the Irrigated West" (2007).
This report - which has been the centerpiece for several Alliance appearances before Congressional committees - provides observations of climate change in the West and realistic solutions that can mitigate for expected associated impacts.
"Western Water Policy: The Challenges and Opportunities of our Times, Our Legacy for the Next Generation" (2008)
In anticipation of the Democrat National Convention (Denver) and Republican National Convention (Minneapolis), this report was prepared to give leaders of both political parties policy guidance on Western water matters.