Big Boots to Fill
By Steve Dutton, President
Published January 1, 2017
After spending the last four years on the executive team of Sonoma County Farm Bureau with John Azevedo, I have seen firsthand the dedication and countless hours John has dedicated to Farm Bureau. During his tenure as Sonoma County Farm Bureau’s President, John has been down in the trenches working hard to support local agriculture.
One of his first and largest projects involved Sonoma County Farm Bureau’s search for a new executive director. John brought together a hiring committee that he directed to interview and hire Kim Vail from Indiana.
Over the course of his two year presidency, John has been fighting for agriculture by attending meetings all over the county and working with our local elected officials. He invested his time in the Sonoma County Riparian Corridor Ordinance advocating for agriculture as policies were developed around ditches, streams, creeks and rivers in Sonoma County. As part of the winery events working group, he spent many hours at meetings to convey the wine industry’s views on impending regulations.
John spent time meeting potential candidates for elected positions at the county and state level. After Farm Bureau made endorsements, John continued to relay the local agriculture industry’s positions to our membership and the public on supervisorial candidates and ballot measures during last November’s pivotal election.
He also found time to work on the ever changing issues coming from the state of California over water and the formation of GSA’s. In addition to water, the legalization of marijuana and how its regulations will affect mainstream agriculture has been a heated issue throughout the county that John has worked on and will continue to work on as a board member.
John was also the driving force in forming our board’s long term planning committee and directing us to come up with a strategic plan for the future of our organization’s headquarters. This led to the board’s decision to sell our 47 year home at 3589 Westwind Blvd. and purchase a larger more modern office at 3589 Westwind Blvd at the Airport Business Park.
John did all of this and spent these hours with no compensation to keep Farm Bureau in the fight for our members’ rights. When you see John at Sonoma County Farm Bureau’s crab feed on February 4th, or during your work day, please take the time to thank him for his dedication to agriculture in Sonoma County over the last 17 years of involvement with Farm Bureau. Also thank him for continuing to serve on Sonoma County Farm Bureau’s Board of Directors.
Seeing all that John has done over the last four years gives me pause to think about how I am going to find the time and be able to fill his boots.
I know that I and the Sonoma County Farm Bureau board and staff have no choice. Agriculture is under attack here in Sonoma County and in California. It is important that we are all willing and dedicated protect our livelihood and way of life that we all love. Be willing to take the time! Be willing to spend the money! Be willing to be involved!
Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the author and Sonoma County Farm Bureau when reprinting this item.