In 1917, a group of Sonoma County farmers banded together with a mission: to unify their voices to protect agriculture for future generations. Through Sonoma County Farm Bureau, they formed farm centers around the county where they met to talk about local issues, formulate solutions and educate each other as well as the non-farming community.
As the landscape in Sonoma County changed dramatically over the next 100 years, the desire to have a unified voice has remained constant. Today in Sonoma County, some of the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of these farmers continue to farm on the same land, and over the course of a century they have been joined by many other families who are passionate about Sonoma County agriculture.
Over the last year, Sonoma County Farm Bureau has been celebrating our 100 year history, but we’ve also experienced growth and change as an organization moving into the next 100 years.
One of the most noticeable changes in our organization has been relocating our office building from Piner Road to Westwind Blvd. The community celebrated this step with us on November 9th, when nearly 200 people joined us for an open house and ribbon cutting ceremony in partnership with the Santa Rosa Metro Chamber.
On the 9th, Sonoma County Farm Bureau President Steve Dutton told guests the decision to purchase the building was a significant undertaking for the board, but the strategic and financial decision was made so the board could ensure Farm Bureau would be here for the next 100 years.
At the centennial celebration, Linda Rosen was honored for her service to Sonoma County Farm Bureau. Rosen worked as Farm Bureau’s bookkeeper for more than 20 years and announced her retirement earlier this year. Rosen was presented with an inscribed clock as a token of appreciation. Farm Bureau wishes Linda well on her future endeavors.
During the evening, Sonoma County Farm Bureau also displayed historical photos and content around the room.
The evening concluded with a presentation on our new website which we believe represents Sonoma County Farm Bureau and showcases Sonoma County agriculture. Our new website has improved navigation, a modern and fresh look and up to date information.
In addition to our open house, I have spent the last year profiling families who have been farming on the same land in Sonoma County for more than 100 years to celebrate SCFB’s 100 year history.
The more people I talked to about Sonoma County agriculture’s history, the smaller this list became. Many families have been here for more than 100 years but haven’t been farming on the same land, some settled right after 1917 and others have made their mark fairly recently.
As Sonoma County Farm Bureau ends our 100th year celebrating Sonoma County agriculture, I hope you will join us in recognizing the families who have maintained their property for 100 years or more – it is no easy feat. The families who have been farming for more than 100 years are proud of their history.
Twelve families who have been farming in Sonoma County for more than 100 years are featured here, but they are by far not the only families who have been farming on the same property for 100 years. If your family has a story please reach out so we can share it with the rest of the Sonoma County agriculture community: 707-544-5575 or Rachel@sonomafb.org.
While we’ve been celebrating 100 years of Sonoma County agriculture and its history, the future of our agriculture industry is just as important as our past. The agriculture industry in Sonoma County was valued at nearly $900,000,000 in 2016, up 17% from the year before. Our industry is stronger than ever, and we need to continue to join together to better the future of agriculture, keeping it viable for future generations and the next 100 years.
The last 100 years of Sonoma County agriculture have been tremendous and Sonoma County Farm Bureau is confident our agricultural community will continue to thrive.