The National Alfalfa and Forage Alliance (NAFA) was officially formed on April 6, 2006 at a meeting of stakeholders held in Denver, Colo.

The new organization, a hybrid of the existing National Alfalfa Alliance (NAA) and other industry stakeholders, was formed to significantly enhance and broaden what the NAA was doing.

Although NAA by-laws contained provisions for membership of forage groups and allied industries, there were no provisions giving them significant membership on the board of directors. The newly adopted NAFA by-laws resolve this condition.

NAFA has an 18-member board of directors which includes equal representation from alfalfa seed growers, alfalfa seed genetic suppliers, state and regional hay/forage associations, and allied industries. There is also a provision for ex-officio participation from the university/Extension segment, as well as potential involvement by sister organizations and government regulatory agencies.

A primary tenet of the new organization is that it is an “umbrella” organization. There is no intention of displacing any of the member organizations or any other organization currently established in the industry. In fact, the opposite is the case; NAFA will strive to work in concert with existing organizations to achieve mutual goals and to avoid duplicity of efforts.

NAFA will be administered by Co-Executive Directors Beth Nelson of Beth C.W. Nelson & Associates, Inc. in St. Paul, Minn., whose primary focus will be legislative/regulatory matters; and Rod Christensen of Ag Management in Kennewick, Wash.. whose focus will be all other administrative matters.

“It's very exciting to see the industry come together the way they have on this effort.” said Christensen. “The new board of directors is dedicated to the NAFA objective of being a ‘forum for consensus building among the various alfalfa and forage industry stakeholders and to be an effective political advocate on behalf of the alfalfa and forage industry.’ Our mission is to ensure the ability of all segments of the alfalfa and forage industries to compete effectively and profitably domestically and abroad. Alfalfa/forages rank third in the U.S. in value of production and yet we've not had a single voice telling our story. NAFA is dedicated to doing so.”

Membership is available to ‘any U.S. individual, association, firm, or corporation actively engaged in growing, producing, handling, processing, or purchasing alfalfa/forage hay or haylage, or alfalfa seed in the United States or in supplying goods or commercial services to producers of alfalfa/forage hay or haylage, or alfalfa seed in the United States. The existing Website at www.alfalfa.org is being re-built and will serve as a focal point for information, bulletins and updates on NAFA activities.

The very popular Alfalfa Intensive Training seminars will continue with the next seminar taking place Oct. 24 - 26, 2006 in Las Vegas, Nev. The annual “Fall Dormancy and Pest Resistance Ratings for Alfalfa” is continuing with publication of the 2006-07 issue expected in mid September.

For further information on NAFA and becoming a member, please contact the National Alfalfa and Forage Alliance at (509) 585-5460, Fax: (509) 585-2671, or e-mail: agmgt@agmgt.com.