By Regina Pozzi
The 1920-21 Marin Farm Bureau officers and directors included President was V.J. Cheda, with Directors Warren Dutton, M.O. Tomasini, and V.J. Bloom to name a few. A local Farm Bureau had to be established in order for a Farm Advisor office to exist. Thus, began what is now a 100-year relationship to continually improve farming and ranching through science and education. Incidentally, the Farm Bureau member fee was $2.00, back then. Marin County Farm Bureau membership is currently $160 and supports lobbying efforts, regulatory aid, and agriculture advocacy- well-worth membership value.
Top Marin county agriculture commodities have remained consistent throughout the years. The gross value of all agricultural production in Marin County in 2021 was $96,656,000. 5% decrease from the previous year. For the fourth year in a row, Marin’s top three commodities were milk, poultry and cattle. These commodities combined were valued at roughly 73% of the total gross value of all agricultural production.
In 1900, there were 300 dairy cattle farms estimated by historians. Today, there are 20 dairy cattle farms remaining in Marin. In the 1935 Marin County Crop Report, the total valuation of all agriculture industries was $5,469,750. There were 26,098 dairy cattle in Marin County in 1935, valued at $1,565,880 based on sales. In 2021 there were 13,900 cattle in Marin County valued at $13,900,000 based on sales. The 1935 value of dairy production was $2,891,738 for milk fat, and $396,432 for cheese, ice cream, and butter. 1935 Dairy value surpassed any other commodity at the time. Eggs produced and shipped through Poultry Producers and Local Egg Dealers was 26,910 cases valued at $217,971 ($0.27 per case, higher than for several years); there were 140,000 poultry in Marin in 1935.
In 2021, there were 77 total registered organic producers in Marin County, farming approximately 51,400 acres, 97% of the acreage being pastureland. Marin was one of the first counties to have an in-house certifier, starting in the early 2000’s.
Marin County Farm Bureau also helped found MALT. Marin County Farm Bureau Board Member Ralph Grossi was chairman of the Farm Bureau Land Use Committee. In fact, it was Farm Bureau, that as a non-profit organization applied for the first funds from the Buck Fund, that provided the financial foundation needed to start what would become MALT.
Marin County Farm Bureau is a non-profit organization that works for the benefit of all agriculture in Marin county. Marin County Farm Bureau members and the Board of Directors monitor local, state and federal issues, using the voice of Marin County Farm Bureau when need arises. All producers and concerned individuals should join the Farm Bureau, working for all agriculture in Marin.