President & Executive Director Message

By Tom Davis & Chris Udall

Well here we are at the end of the year already; it has been a busy one and we’re sure that is the case with each of you.  We decided as President and Executive Director to send you a joint note in this 4th quarter newsletter.  Since our last reports, we’ve had a very successful 26th Annual H2Open in Casa Grande.  We want to thank so many who participated as golfers, who donated raffle items and sponsored Holes and Event Sponsorships.  We had a great time and as always, we look for positive feedback to make the event better each year.  We can’t forget the work of the H2Open Committee and Executive Assistant, Kathy Rappleye.  Thank you!

We had a fruitful trip and meetings in Rocky Point, Sonora the latter part of November for the Arizona Mexico Commission Annual Summit.  It was an opportune moment to discuss important trade issues related to fresh produce and livestock movement at the border, along with water discussions.  We enjoy working with our colleagues in Sonora.  Our members are actively involved in both the Environment & Water and Agribusiness & Wildlife Committees.  Dave Roberts with Salt River Project is Co-chair of the Environment & Water Committee and Chris Udall is Co-chair of the Agribusiness & Wildlife Committee along with Az. Department of Agriculture Director, Mark Killian.  The most productive part of the event was Chris’ opportunity to have a few minutes to visit with both Governor Doug Ducey and Governor Claudia Pavlovich.  They enjoy working together, looking for opportunities to be good neighbors culturally and economically.  We’re appreciative of their time and personal attention.  ABWC is grateful to be of assistance in this process.

We were also very busy the last few months preparing for our 3rd Annual, Arizona Agribusiness Roundtable which has been a huge accomplishment.  We partner as an organization with the Arizona Department of Agriculture to bring notable agricultural leaders from across the country and locally to talk about agriculture and agribusiness.  We had a large crowd of over 300 in attendance on December 4th with national leaders from various trade associations and commodity groups addressing us on their take or perspective on the next Farm Bill, an issue of importance to us all.  We thank the many speakers who traveled great distances and took the time to join us.  Many hands made light work.  Special thanks to Director Mark Killian and his staff, especially Brett Cameron and Susan Chase for their countless hours of work.  We also want to thank our own Kathy Rappleye who spent so much time on the big and little things behind the scenes.  Thank you to our professional FFA volunteers and others who assisted and to Salt River Project for the use of their facilities.  Thank you last to all the many sponsors and those who could attend.  If you were not able to make it this year, we hope you’ll join us this time next year.  We’re aiming for another successful 4th Annual Roundtable next December.  This has proven to be the best single meeting of the year for agriculture business interests to network.

Chris, along with many of ABWC’s officers and members attended the Colorado River Water Users Association (CRWUA) Annual Conference this month in Las Vegas.  There were numerous speakers and side meetings addressing how to adapt to survive the current drought conditions on the Colorado River system.  This event is a great opportunity each December to discuss ideas with other Colorado River users in the other basin states.

Several of our members, along with ABWC President and Executive Director have been involved most of the summer and fall with the Governor’s Colorado River and Groundwater working groups.  These meetings have culminated in legislation currently being drafted to implement some of the objectives developed and advanced in these working groups.  ABWC will be heavily involved in this legislative process during the next legislative session beginning in January.  Chris plans to chair a number of Ag. Lobbyist/Water Caucus meetings this session to have all Arizona agriculture representation being briefed and discuss water policy at the same time.

Last, we had a very successful National Water Resources Association (NWRA) Annual meeting in Tucson this past November.  Arizona was well represented; a lot of information was exchanged and a number of our ABWC members received awards including Grant Ward and Elston Grubaugh receiving the “Lifetime Achievement” award and Executive Director, Chris Udall receiving the “Distinguished Service” award.  We look forward next month to meeting in Las Vegas to discuss ABWC’s federal legislative priorities which we will touch on in our first quarter, 2018 newsletter.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday and all the best in the New Year!

4th Quarter 2017 Edition of ABWC Newsletter

From the Ditchbank

Newsletter of the Agribusiness & Water Council of Arizona

​4th Quarter 2017