By Tito Sasaki
Every four years in January, the White House has a new tenant, or a recycled one. Every two years in January, Sonoma County Farm Bureau has a new president. No recycling here. Our outstanding past presidents, Joe Pozzi, Bob Meulrath, Doug Beretta, Mike Strunk, Ray Mulas, just to name a few, have all graciously passed the baton to the next when their two-year term was out. By this time many of our illustrious Board members have already served presidency; so, they had to scrape the bottom of the barrel to find a new taker. And here I am!
But fear not! Our nation won’t fundamentally change however loudly the President may exhort hope and change. Similarly, our Farm Bureau will not sink to the bottom, regardless where the new president hails from, as long as you, the members of Farm Bureau, stay strong economically and politically. It is indeed our guiding principle to assist you to spend your time and resources productively so that you may have greater freedom to pursue your vocation.
The 21st Century farming faces many new challenges. Stifling regulations with onerous compliance burdens, escalating taxes and costs of energy and materials, uncertain labor supply, changing consumer preferences, rapidly advancing technologies in genetics, pest control, soil amendments, irrigation, harvesting, processing, storage, transportation, and information management, and so on. Some challenges are best handled by individual farmers and ranchers while others can be more effectively addressed by Farm Bureau as a collective voice of its members.
We at the Farm Bureau are currently allocating much of our energy to two areas: government relations and youth education. The former covers influencing new legislations and assisting members for complying with the existing regulations. The latter is to nurture tomorrow’s farmers and ranchers through sponsoring 4H and FFA activities, providing scholarships to college students, and organizing or sponsoring other agricultural education programs for both students and teachers. .
In order for us to work more closely with you, we need your input. You may have noticed on the last issue of this paper that our editor Tim Tesconi has opened a Letters-to-Editor forum. This is a great way to facilitate your communication to us. Please write us a letter today and let us hear how we can serve our agricultural community better.
All our Board members and staff wish you a happy and prosperous 2013. Your prosperity, happiness, and involvement are what make us the Farm Bureau strong.