1973 United Family Farmers Organized
Brothers George and Bill Piper, who learned that 1,000 acres of their Beadle County family farm would be drowned beneath Byron Reservoir, an Oahe irrigation project feature, begin a concerted effort to learn more about the project, and they organizez their neighbors into an informal group they called the Lake Byron Farmers. This group includes other farmers who would lose lands to the new reservoir. George Piper's intensive research about the project extends beyond the impacts of the Byron reservoir, and he concludes that the project will cause problems not only for their immediate area but for landowners in a vast region, including those living and working in many areas in the Oahe Conservancy Sub-district. As the Pipers shared their findings with others the Lake Byron Farmers group outgrows its neighborhood, becomes more visible, and Bill Piper re-names the group United Family Farmers, soon after known as UFF.
George Piper began to meet regularly with farmers and ranchers throughout the Oahe project area to build an opposition movement. George Piper was a recent PhD recipient (he earned his PhD in Zoology from the University of Missouri), and he proves adept at interpreting Oahe engineering reports and the project’s environmental impact statement. His positions against Oahe soon include topics such as soil and water quality, land condemnation practices, wildlife, and economic issues. His efforts to educate fellow farmers and conservationists are productive, and UFF grows quickly.