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In the News

Healdsburg Dairy Rancher Takes a Stand to Protect Land and Livelihood during Kincade Fire

Bucher Family and their ranch workers shelter-in-place with 1,400 cows When mandatory evacuations were ordered for much of Sonoma County during October’s Kincade Fire, Healdsburg dairy rancher and grape grower John Bucher couldn’t just pack up his 1,400 Holstein and Brown Swiss cows and head out of town. And, of course, like most ranchers, Bucher would never abandon his livestock. Instead, Bucher, self-reliant and a strategic thinker, implemented the shelter-in-place plan he has been fine-tuning since the 2017 Tubbs Fire when it became apparent that Continue reading →

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AB 5 Re-Classifies Independent Contractors, Including Some Farm/Ranch Service Providers

A new series of tests are being used to further define the legal status of independent contractors (IC) in California, as well as those engaged in the so-called “gig” economy (such as Uber, Lyft, Postmates, DoorDash, etc.). These criteria are included in Assembly Bill 5 (AB 5) signed by Governor Newsom on September 18 and set to take effect January 1, 2020. This law presumes that a worker performing services for hire is an employee for purposes of claims for wages and benefits under wage Continue reading →

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December Editorial: Always Sonoma Strong

Tragedy has once again struck Sonoma County.  A mere 8 months ago our county was inundated by massive flooding, a year ago it was weeks of smoke from the Camp Fire, two years ago the devastating Tubbs and Nuns Fire ripped through our homes and communities and now another fire, the Kincade Fire, has ravaged our county yet again. Compounding the matter was that most of the county was evacuated from their homes and/or had no electricity and gas from the forced power shutdown for Continue reading →

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December Editorial: California Wildfires. The New Abnormal?

It is interesting. Starting in kindergarten and up until high school, there were emergency drills focused “on the big one” – the earthquake that was going to hit the west coast with a vengeance like previous generations experienced in 1906.  Our fear of a devastating quake has now been replaced, or at least duplicated, but what seems to be a reality – the next wildfire. And these fears are warranted and supported by statistics and data induced observations. My Dad only spoke of one major Continue reading →

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Member Profile: Barlas Feeds

Located in the north end of Petaluma, just off the Boulevard, Barlas Feeds has been a feed store, grain and hay facility for the past 30 years. Reminiscent of Petaluma during its heyday as the egg basket of the world, Barlas Feeds is actually located in an old chicken barn. The Barlas family of Petaluma originally owned Barlas Feeds. In 1996, John and Lynn Cunningham were looking for a business that could complement Cunningham Bros. Hay Brokerage, which is owned with brother Charlie Cunningham and Continue reading →

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Put It in Action: Fire Safety on Your Property

We all know the danger is real, but have each of us taken the time to prepare? Without a doubt, preparing your property and your daily operations for fire safety is a complex task. But there is no greater reward for all of your hard work should your farm and home be spared from a wildfire. Reducing Fuel: Your Property from a Fire’s Point of View Walk your property and imagine how a spark might start or how fire could be fueled. In rural homes, Continue reading →

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Sonoma County Department of Agriculture/Weights & Measures December Update

Access for Growers During Disasters During the 2017 fires, the Department of Agriculture/Weights & Measures worked with CHP, CalFire, and the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office to gain access for farmers and ranchers that needed to perform critical agricultural functions such as harvesting, feeding and watering livestock, managing fermentations, and irrigating nursery crops.  The Department issued access permits and had staff escort growers into and out of evacuated areas.  During the course of those fires, we escorted 280 groups of people to perform these critical functions.  Continue reading →

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Sonoma County Farm Bureau Provides Resources for Those Impacted by the Kincade Fire

We know that the Kincade Fire created widespread and lasting damages within our agricultural community. This fire was largely a rural fire, and therefore many of our members with livestock and crops were greatly impacted. We would like to offer our heartfelt condolences and sympathy for those who were affected by the fire. We plan to support you through every step of the recovery process. Despite being evacuated from our office, Sonoma County Farm Bureau staff coordinated efforts to provide hay and other supplies, grant permits Continue reading →

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