Mar 10, 2023 | Blog

ICYMI Alliance Annual Conference 2023

Tom Birmingham’s Closing Remarks at the
2023 Family Farm Alliance Annual Conference 

Pictured left to right following an award ceremony at our Reno conference: Pat O’Toole, President, Family Farm Alliance; Dan Errotabere, Past Alliance board member; Gary Esslinger, retired EBID manager; Tom Birmingham, retired General Manager, Westlands Water District; Dan Keppen, Alliance executive director.

The 2023 Family Farm Alliance Annual Conference wrapped up two weeks ago today, on February 24. While travelers driving and flying to Reno faced challenging winter weather conditions, this year’s attendance at the Silver Legacy Resort was the largest ever, and the reaction from conference attendees was enthusiastic.

“We’re getting better with age,” said Alliance President Patrick O’Toole (WYOMING). “A journalist told me our conference had the highest level of intellectual discussion she had ever witnessed.”

A high point for many attendees was the closing remarks made by Tom Birmingham (CALIFORNIA), who recently retired after serving for over two decades as general manager of Westlands Water District, the nation’s largest irrigation district.

“I took the job for a very simple reason,” Mr. Birmingham told the audience. “I believe farming is a noble enterprise. Despite incredible challenges, some imposed by nature, others imposed by institutions, farmers do something that is truly miraculous; they produce nutritious food that benefits countess people, worldwide.  What could be more noble?”

In response to multiple requests for a copy of his closing remarks, Mr. Birmingham graciously allowed us to share them with you. CLICK HERE for his written remarks.

Mr. Birmingham was recognized at the conference for his service to California farmers with the Alliance’s “John Keys III Memorial” award. Long-time Alliance Advisory Committee Chairman Gary Esslinger (NEW MEXICO) received the Alliance’s “Water Warrior” award.

Find out more about the Family Farm Alliance’s recent activities in our latest “Activities and Accomplishments” Report HERE.

We will continue to keep you informed on this and other developments impacting Western irrigated agriculture.
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