Sonoma County Farm Bureau board members and staff attended the California Farm Bureau Federation 100th Annual Meeting December 4-7 in San Diego at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront.
SCFB Board members Jennifer Beretta, Domenic Carinalli and his wife Lynda, Jeff Carlton and his wife Kaley, Steve Dutton, Judy James and her husband Jeff, Karissa Kruse and Norm Yenni flew to San Diego to participate in the historic meeting. Staff members Tawny Tesconi, Susan Hansen, Samantha Piehoff and Brytann Busick also attended.
In the opening session, attendees listened to CFBF President Jamie Johansson and AFBF President Zippy Duvall speak about the future of agriculture. Describing Farm Bureau as an organization “that wants to go beyond making a statement by being determined to make a difference,” Johansson outlined priorities for CFBF in the coming years.
One area of ongoing emphasis will be in water policy, Johansson said, noting that Farm Bureau is prepared “to continue defending water rights and shaping water policy in 2019.”
“The strength of our water policy is the commitment to the idea that to meet California’s water needs, we do not need to sacrifice the water needs of one region over another farm community,” he said.
Johansson said that Farm Bureau would continue to fight back against expanding government regulation that hampers agriculture.
Despite the difficulties, he said, “the opportunities have never been greater to farm and be in agriculture,” thanks to innovation and access to markets.
“What we have to do as Farm Bureau is to show this state that what we do best is create wealth” that benefits everyone involved in agriculture, including farm employees and people who work in transportation, marketing and other jobs, Johansson said, noting that “with water, sunlight, seed, good soil and some knowledge, you can grow something and you can sell it.”
Farm Bureau members today are much like their predecessors who founded the organization in 1919, he said, in their insistence “to make things better.”
“The success of Farm Bureau is as a volunteer gathering of individuals who understand that just like on our farms and ranches, actions speak louder than words,” Johansson said.
CFBF District 17 Director and SCFB Board Member Domenic Carinalli said the best part of attending the CFBF Annual Meeting was spending time with fellow board members and staff.
“It was great to be there to celebrate the 100th anniversary with agriculturalists from up and down the state of California,” Carinalli said. “Listening to American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall was very enlightening. I think that he has a good handle on US agriculture and I think that he is doing a great job representing the farmers of the United States in Washington, D.C.”
Throughout the meeting, the SCFB delegation had many opportunities to network with other farmers, ranchers, and Farm Bureau board members and staff from across the state. They also were able to watch Young Farmers & Ranchers compete in the Discussion Meet and to participate in breakout session about topics like overtime-pay exemptions, the Urban County Farm Bureau Coalition, Community Choice Aggregation, diesel truck rules, long-term care, and water.
At the Awards Reception and Dinner, guests enjoyed an elegant dinner and the presentation of the 2018 Distinguished Service Awards, which were presented to James Marler from the Yuba-Sutter County Farm Bureau and Paul Wenger from the Stanislaus County Farm Bureau. The Sonoma County Farm Bureau was awarded County Activities of Excellence Awards for Membership, Policy Implementation, and Ag Education and was also recognized as one of 6 counties in California to make annual membership goal.