The More Things Change…

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The More Things Change…

By Kim Vail, Executive Director

Published April 1, 2017

Kim Vail

We have all heard and maybe even uttered the phrase, “The more things change, the more they seem to stay the same”. Sometimes this can be viewed in a positive light and at other times not so much. Well, things certainly are changing and the older one gets the more noticeable change becomes. I have also noticed that as the number of gray hairs increases on the top of my head, the pace of change has become somewhat faster.

Several Farm Bureau volunteer leaders from Sonoma County joined with their counterparts from across the state last month for an annual three day leader’s conference in Sacramento. A big thank you is extended to Matt Greene, Taylor Serres, Jennifer Beretta, Norm Yenni and Doug Beretta for agreeing to represent the interests of Sonoma County agriculture during these discussions. This conference included presentations ranging from agency and association officials to the chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee providing updates on key issue areas affecting agriculture. This was followed by a briefing and an afternoon of meeting with state senators, assembly representatives and staff at the state capitol advocating Farm Bureau’s position involving proposed legislation on several identified priority issues.

The afternoon before the leader’s conference and the morning following the conference consisted of committee meetings of members from across California. For several years these meetings have been organized to focus on either commodity or livestock specific topics. This was the second year to move away from this structure to one based upon larger issue areas that sometimes affect various commodities or areas of the state differently. This new structure allows for a much broader and in-depth discussion and takes advantage of the very regional and commodity diversity that enhances Farm Bureau’s strength and influence.

I have participated in these conferences and advocacy efforts in various capacities over the past twenty-eight years. The topics and issues evolve over time, but the dedication of the Farm Bureau members who choose to take time away from their farms and ranches to express real-life examples and implications relating to proposed legislation or regulatory action has been a constant presence. There is no disputing that we are now operating in a new dynamic as far as public policy is concerned. This new dynamic also means there will be impacts to agriculture that we do not know about and will require a response.

Change will always be a component in the political arena as the public policy pendulum continues to swing from left to right and right to left, always trying to find a balance where a majority of the population is comfortable. This is exactly where an organization with principles like Farm Bureau shines; always looking out for what is better for the whole of agriculture; from family farms and ranches that have been established and grown over generations to the beginning or young entrepreneurs who are working to realize their dream of building a business that helps them raise a family while contributing to the food security of our society.

Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the author and Sonoma County Farm Bureau when reprinting this item.