Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.
March 15, 2005
F o r I m m e d i a t e R e l e a s e
For More Information, Please Contact:
PAT O’TOOLE, PRESIDENT, (307) 380-8065,firstname.lastname@example.org
DAN KEPPEN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, (541) 892-6244,email@example.com
Copy by:RANDY McFARLAND, (559) 896-4715, firstname.lastname@example.org
Family Farm Alliance, New Leadership Will Examine Storage Needs, Irrigated Ag’s Future
new Family Farm Alliance focus will be directed at Western water storage opportunities and a need for the nation to examine the nation’s desire to support and sustain irrigated agriculture in the years to come. Leading the effort for the West-wide organization of family farmers and local water agencies will be a new President and Executive Director.
Patrick O’Toole, whose family operates a cattle, sheep and feed ranch in southern Wyoming and northern Colorado, was elected as the Family Farm Alliance’s fifth President during the organization’s Annual Meeting and Conference March 9-11 in Las Vegas. O’Toole succeeds Bill Kennedy of Klamath Falls, Oregon, as Alliance President.
Most Alliance members are involved with using or delivering federal water supplies from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in 17 Western states. The Alliance is a grassroots-based organization that puts Congressional and Administration staff members into direct contact with water users and local water agencies.
"We believe strongly in the "family" part of the Family Farm Alliance," said O’Toole, a former member of Wyoming’s House of Representatives and the federal government’s Western Water Policy Review Advisory Commission. "It has so much to do with rural communities and is such an important part of American culture."
Named as Executive Directorwas Dan Keppen. Keppen recently stepped down after three years of managing and serving as spokesman for the Klamath Water Users Association and embattled farm families around Klamath Falls, Oregon, where Keppen lives and where the Family Farm Alliance’s offices will soon be relocated. He has 16 years of experience in association management and water issues and also served as a special U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Assistant in the Mid-Pacific Region. Keppen succeeds Craig Smith. Smith is stepping down to pursue an expanded role with the Northwest Food Processors Association and a ministry in his Salem, Oregon, church.
"This Alliance is one of the most respected organizations representing Western water," Keppen said. "It is really one of the privileges of my life to be able to work with farmers throughout the West."
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The Family Farm Alliance, as a grassroots-based organization, plans to focus on a few issues that are of critical importance to the West’s irrigated agriculture. They include:
Immediate Past President Kennedy said the Alliance also hopes to step up two of its most important programs – Farmer Lobbyist visits to the nation’s capital by federal water users, and Congressional Outreach. The latter program brings Washington-based Congressional and administration staff members to the West to see farm and irrigation operations first hand.
Keppen said the Allianceis among the organizations asked by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to submit responses to six questions the committee plans to address during an April 5 water conference in Washington. "We are hoping we are selected to sit on that panel," Keppen said.
In its paper, the Alliance said, "The themes expressed in our responses generally reflect our belief that streamlined federal regulation and decision making are the keys to sound Western water policy. Whenever possible, meaningful delegation of decision-making authority should be transferred to the local level with less federal intrusion in basin issues." What is needed, the Alliance said, is certainty to all water users, balanced solutions to resolve differences between water laws and environmental laws, deference to state law on water issues, support for development of new and environmentally sound water supply sources, and cost effective operation and maintenance of existing water supply infrastructure.
For more on the Senate Committee filing and about the Alliance, please visit www.familyfarmalliance.org
Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:14 AM Pacific
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