Sonoma County Farm Bureau, Preparing Me for a Better Tomorrow

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Sonoma County Farm Bureau, Preparing Me for a Better Tomorrow

By Paige Nonella, Farm Bureau Intern 

During her time as the Sonoma County Farm Bureau’s intern, Paige Nonella had the opportunity to work at numerous large scale events throughout the county meeting industry leaders and interacting with government officials. She simultaneously attended the Santa Rosa Junior College where she was part of their agriculture ambassadors team. Farm Bureau thanks her for all her hard work and dedication to the agriculture industry over the last two years and wishes her the best of luck in the future.

Being a Sonoma County girl, I love agriculture.  From my mom and dad’s vineyard, to my grandfather’s horses, to my eleven years showing in 4-H, agriculture has been a huge part of my life. 

I’ve grown up with amazing mentors.  My parents, 4-H leaders, my instructors at Santa Rosa Junior College, and the staff at the Sonoma County Farm Bureau have all inspired me to work hard at both my education and job and success will follow.  I’ve always been told to put my best foot forward and if I fall down to get back up and try again. I love that Sonoma County agriculture is based on that value. 

I started school at the Santa Rosa Junior College in the fall of 2013 after graduating from Cardinal Newman High School.  The JC was a great place for me to begin my education in agriculture as they have a wonderful ag program. Pj LoCoco and George Sellu were two of the best professors I had at the junior college. Their insight taught me so much about the variety of ag in our county and the impact it has on our community.

A few weeks after I had volunteered for the Farm Bureau’s Love of the Land Dinner, during the summer right after my high school graduation, I was approached by Mr. Tesconi. I was so honored when he asked if I was interested in a part time internship at the Sonoma County Farm Bureau. I started two weeks later and never looked back. 
Interning at the Sonoma County Farm Bureau for the last two years was a great experience. I learned how to work in an office environment, communicate well with my colleagues, and how agriculture affects many businesses and the economy of our county. Working at the Farm Bureau also gave me the opportunity to develop many connections with people I admire in this industry.

My experience gained while working at the Farm Bureau has been invaluable. The staff works hard behind the scenes planning events, promoting agriculture and recognizing those that make a difference in the agriculture community.  A few of the major events planned each year include Ag Days, the Crab & Wine Fest,  and Love of the Land. I was trusted to take on major roles at each of these events.  

One of my favorite memories from working at Farm Bureau was recently when Mr.Tesconi allowed me and my coworker, Raven Castro, to be in charge of putting together the first annual California Milk Advisory Board sponsored cheese tent. The Farm Bureau received a grant from the board that allowed us to purchase delicious, local Sonoma County cheeses. Together, we were proud of accomplishing a beautiful centerpiece for the reception at our recent Love of the Land fundraiser. 

In the last two years, I was able to complete 60 units during my 4 semesters at the SRJC, all while working part time at the Farm Bureau. It was difficult at first, but I soon learned how to manage my school and work life. I have realized that as you get older, life only gets busier and time management is very important. 

I am sad to say goodbye to my Farm Bureau family but ready to start my new journey at Fresno State. Farm Bureau was influential in keeping my love for agriculture alive as well as keeping me motivated to move on to a university and continue my education in agriculture. I hope to be able to come back to Sonoma County after graduating and put my new found knowledge of agriculture to work.    

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