E-mail this article to
yourself or a friend.
Enter address:


California farmer organization names Leland Swenson as executive director

June 15, 2002 – CropChoice news) – The Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) announced yesterday that Leland Swenson, former president of the National Farmers Union, will serve as its executive director.

CAFF is a nonprofit membership organization founded in 1978 with regional chapters throughout California. CAFF uses practical information-sharing, organizing and advocacy in support of strong, ecologically sound family farms and healthy rural communities.

“I look forward to the opportunity to work with agriculture producers in California,” Swenson said. “CAFF is a dynamic organization with a long history of farmer-to-farmer and outreach programs. These types of programs, linking family farmers and urban communities, will help our efforts to make sustainability a core principle in all food and agriculture policy.”

While Swenson was with the National Farmers Union he was responsible for organizing and leading the historic 1999 National Agricultural Summit. The gathering brought together 29 of the nation’s farm and commodity organizations to address serious farm economy conditions such as a farm safety net, industry concentration, risk management and international trade. Swenson also organized the Rally for Rural America in March 2000. That event attracted thousands of farmers, church leaders, labor organizations and rural people to Washington, D.C. to send a strong message to Capitol Hill that the rural crisis was more than an economic crisis but also a social and cultural crisis in rural America.

Swenson last week spoke at the Great Lakes Forum on Agriculture in State College, PA., about the importance of water issues and agriculture.

“Water is quickly becoming a critical issue in agriculture, even more significant than biotechnology or trade,” he told the audience. A growing population with changing priorities is beginning to affect the quantity, quality, distribution and management of water. This raises questions about the abundance and scarcity of water in different areas of the country, the costs of recycling water for different uses and priorities for water use.

“Our country’s changing priorities impact water availability and quality for food production, which, in turn, impact the structure of farming,” said Swenson, encouraging the audience to weigh how the country should prioritize the uses of water between human consumption, food production, navigation, industry, energy production, wildlife and recreation.