By Doug Beretta, President

The first week of December, a group of board members and staff of Sonoma County Farm Bureau headed to Reno for the California Farm Bureau (CAFB) Annual Meeting. Based on our membership size, Sonoma County is given three voting delegates and three alternate delegates to help write new policies, if needed, on all aspects of agriculture. This policy guides our State officers and CAFB employees as they discuss issues with elected officials and policymakers. At last year’s annual meeting, there was a committee of members appointed to look into the Bylaws of CAFB. This committee worked hard throughout the year to come up with some good changes to the Bylaws that were voted on by the delegate body. There were really good discussions on the changes proposed; some passed, and some did not. Agriculture changes. As the voice of agriculture, we need to stay ahead of the times and make sure we give representatives of CAFB the tools to have good discussions with policymakers. 

The first day of the meeting was a recap of 2023 from our president Jamie Johansson in the morning, followed by the presentations of some amazing awards to CAFB members, and a wonderful keynote speaker. The second half of the day was filled with breakout sessions on multiple issues. That night was the awards banquet where County Farm Bureaus throughout the state were recognized for programs and accomplishments they had in 2023. The next day was dedicated to Policy review and election of state officers and state board members. Our district consists of Sonoma, Napa, and Marin County Farm Bureaus and we elect a District Representative to serve on the state board every 2 years. Johnnie White was re-elected to represent our district for his final 2-year term. Johnnie has been very active at the state level and is a Napa County Farm Bureau board member. 

This year was also an election year for our state officers. Elected 2nd VP was Ron Peterson, 1st VP Shaun Crook, and President Shannon Douglass. This is a very exciting time for CAFB with the election of the first woman president ever in over 100 years of the organization. Shannon has a great team of employees and county members to continue fighting for agriculture here in the state and at the federal level. I have known Shannon for many years and I know she is ready for the challenge and will move CAFB in the right direction. I do want to send a huge thank you to Past President Jamie Johansson for his dedication and time worked for this organization.

It is amazing to see the dedication from members across the state. Talking with other county members about issues they deal with day in and day out keeps me in the loop and offers a warning on issues our county may encounter in the future. Farm Bureau is a family. Going to the CAFB Annual Meeting is like going to a family reunion of sorts. Every year you see some of the same people and meet many new people, and their challenges and issues are a lot like ours. As a member of Sonoma County Farm Bureau, you should feel very fortunate to have the county board members and state board members plus amazing staff members at each level working to keep agriculture viable here in California.