Aug 4, 2022 | Blog

Family Farm Alliance Advisory Committee Members In The News

Family Farm Alliance Advisory Committee Members in the News

Image credit: Kittitas Reclamation District homepage.

The Family Farm Alliance is governed by a board of directors made up of farm and ranch owners and managers from throughout the Western United States. The Alliance also has an Advisory Committee, consisting of water professionals such as irrigation district managers and staff, association CEOs, advocates, attorneys, and engineers.

All of the Alliance Directors and Advisory Committee members serve as volunteers, and are not compensated for their time, which is sometimes consuming. The Advisory Committee is currently chaired by Gary Esslinger, who for many years managed Elephant Butte Irrigation District (NEW MEXICO).

In addition to monthly board meetings, Advisory Committee member attend and participate in internal meetings for the 3-day annual conference, travel to Washington, D.C. for Farmer Lobbyist trips, and engage in various Western field tours to educate policy makers and the media.

They are expected to avoid conflicts of interest between their position as an Advisory Committee member and their personal lives, be prepared to discuss the many issues and business conducted by the organization and review a considerable amount of background material prior to each meeting.

Alliance Advisory Committee Members always act for the good of the Western water community, and support in a positive manner all action taken by the Board of Directors, even in those rare instances where they are in the minority on a split decision for certain actions.

Over 50 top Western water professionals serve on the Family Farm Alliance Advisory Committee. Two of them – Paul Arrington (IDAHO) and Urban Eberhart (WASHINGTON) were recently profiled is separate articles published in Capital Press. 

“Keeping the water flowing: Idaho’s irrigators, other users depend on Paul Arrington” 

The title above and the following excerpt were published July 21, 2022 in a Capital Press article written by Brad Carlson.

Paul Arrington lasted one day as a farmhand.

“We picked rock out of a field,” the Idaho Water Users Association executive director and general counsel said, referring to his introduction to farming as a 12-year-old near Twin Falls in 1989. The farmer “called Mom and said it’s not going to work out.”

But the memorably tough day helped confirm Arrington enjoys being around other people — a key to his success advocating for farmers and other water users for the past 18 years and counting.

“I enjoy interacting with folks,” he said. “I really enjoy learning what makes people tick and learning about how people view the world from different perspectives. I enjoy learning about and hearing different things.”

Read the Capital Press article about Paul Arrington.  

“Western Innovator: Irrigation district manager promotes alternative to water wars” 

The title above and excerpt below appeared in a Capital Press article published July 28, 2022 and written by Don Jenkins.

Kittitas Reclamation District manager Urban Eberhart promotes the Yakima River Basin water plan like a man who’s seen the futility of water wars.

The basin covers 6,000 square miles in south-central Washington and in one year yields crops worth $4.5 billion. The basin has 48 fish species, including two that are federally protected.

Once upon a time, Eberhart recalls, seasoned adversaries, equally matched, fought like crazy over water.

Sides lawyered up and stopped talking. “The legal folks were always afraid we might say something wrong,” he said.

Nevertheless, people did start talking in a “collaborative process,” the antithesis of fighting words.

From the talks sprang a 30-year, $4 billion plan supported by irrigation districts, the Yakama Nation, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the Washington Department of Ecology.

Read the Capital Press story about Urban Eberhart.

Congratulations, Paul and Urban, and thanks for all you do for your communities and Western irrigated agriculture!

We will continue to keep you informed on this and other developments impacting Western irrigated agriculture.
If you’re not a member, join us!