FFA uses media to spread water, food scarcity message

The Alliance, together with the California Farm Water Coalition, ran an ad in the Wall Street Journal detailing growing water and food scarcities in the Western U.S.
The Family Farm Alliance and the California Farm Water Coalition teamed up on an ad detailing food and water scarcities in the Western U.S.

The Family Farm Alliance, Klamath Falls, Oregon, and the California Farm Water Coalition, Sacramento, California, teamed up on an ad detailing growing food and water scarcities in the Western U.S. that ran in an April 2 edition of the Wall Street Journal.

Dan Keppen, director of the Family Farm Alliance, says western agriculture has long wrestled with its ability to communicate with the people “who take for granted that food will always be plentiful and available.” In late March, an idea to sound the alarm of the pending food scarcity issue began with some Klamath Basin farmers.

“The idea seemed simple: Tell the story in a full-page ad in a major newspaper to start the conversation with the unaware public,” Keppen says.

In March, producers banded together to take out a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal, sharing the viewpoint that the government’s delivery of water to farmers is critical to ensuring a strong domestic food supply.

“It was a much bigger project than we could have imagined,” says Keppen.

The Alliance and California Farm Water Coalition teamed up with the Klamath interests and went to work. The QR code at the bottom of the ad led readers to a web page with more information about the situation and what must be done to correct it. The landing page links to a recent Alliance report — “A Wake-up Call to Our National Leaders from an American Rancher” — which further describes current and projected food shortages resulting from the Russia-Ukraine war.

“The WSJ ad was a great first step, but it was only a first step,” Keppen says. “Now we need to hammer that message home through social media and other outreach if we are to have any hope of the message penetrating.”

Two California producers and CFWC Executive Director Mike Wade were interviewed shortly after the ad ran for a segment that was reported on by Lester Holt on NBC Nightly News. Keppen also testified at a May 11 forum hosted by House Republicans examining how the ongoing Western drought contributes to growing grocery and electricity prices nationwide.

Read more about the Family Farm Alliance.

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