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Sonoma County Sisters Growing Together Through Agriculture

Alina and Suzanne Amaral grew up in Sonoma and were very involved in the agricultural community. After graduating with a doctorate degree and teaching credential, the sisters have moved back to Sonoma County to start their professional careers as a veterinarian and an ag teacher.MORE

Tunzi Family: 119 Years of Farming in Roblar

Six generations of the Tunzi family have grown up in Southern Sonoma County. Many of the six generations have two things in common: raising cattle and attending the small Dunham School in Roblar. The Tunzi family immigrated to America from Switzerland in 1882.MORE

2017 Ends with Transition and a Call for One Ag Voice in 2018

Happy New Year to you all! Now that 2017 is closed out, I am sure that we are all happy to put it in the past. It will be remembered as quite a year – starting with historic rainfall and flooding which signaled an end to the four-year drought and finishing with the most devastating firestorm ever experienced in Sonoma County. MORE

Farm Bureau Foundation’s New Year Message 2018

Why not! We have all the right ingredients: top-notch farmers and ranchers, and dynamic SRJC, SSU, and UCCE. Our high schools and elementary schools are enthusiastic about agriculture thanks to the activities of 4-H, FFA, YF&R, and the FB’s Ag Education Committee. MORE

John Azevedo Honored with Spirit of Sonoma Award

Past Farm Bureau President John Azevedo received the Spirit of Sonoma Award on December 8th. The event, sponsored by the Sonoma County Economic Development Board was held at the Double Tree Hotel in Rohnert Park. Azevedo was recognized alongside 19 other recipients at the 17th annual awards ceremony.MORE

Tawny Tesconi Hired as Interim Executive Director of Sonoma County Farm Bureau

Tawny Tesconi has been hired as the Interim Executive Director for Sonoma County Farm Bureau.MORE

Retiring My Jacket

High school is typically no one’s favorite time in life unless you’re just weird or crazy or you find something to make you want to come back into school each day.MORE

Nearly 1,900 People Show Support for Sonoma County Agriculture by Attending the Great Sonoma Crab and Wine Fest

Selling out in record time, this year’s Great Sonoma Crab and Wine Fest also hosted more people than ever before. With more than 1,500 guests and nearly 400 volunteers and reception participants, nearly 1,900 people gathered to support local agriculture.MORE

Grounded Land and Livestock: Restoration Grazing in Sonoma County

Byron Palmer and Nate Chisholm are the co-founders of Grounded Land and Livestock, working on what they describe as restoration grazing. The company was started in 2015, but the partners have been working together since 2011. MORE

Pat Burns Joins Sonoma County Farm Bureau’s Board of Directors

Burns has served as the General Manager of Vineyard Operations for M. Draxton Wines since 2013 where he oversees the vineyard operations of 250 acres of Cabernet in Alexander Valley. Additionally, Burns is in charge of Grower Relations and purchasing grapes for Draxton Wines. MORE

Agricultural Legacy: Past and Future

Every February the ag and local community come together to celebrate the legacy of Sonoma County agriculture, mix and mingle with old and new friends, raise money to support the next generation of farmers and, of course, eat delicious crab and drink the best wine in the world made right here in our own backyard.MORE

It Takes a Farm Bureau Family

What an opportunity! I am blessed to have a chance to “get under the tent” and take on the role as Interim Executive Director of the Sonoma County Farm Bureau. As a Sonoma County native raised on a small family farm in west county, agriculture shaped my life.MORE

Tito Sasaki Addresses Law Students on Groundwater Issues

At UC Berkeley on January 20, Sonoma County Farm Bureau board member and president of the Farm Bureau Foundation, Tito Sasaki, gave talks on Sonoma County’s groundwater issues to some 200 students and faculty members of law schools in the San Francisco Bay-Sacramento area.MORE

Behind The Scenes

Everyone remembers those dreaded days of the firestorm of October, 2017. All of the brave, determined firefighters from so many places, Law Enforcement that came to help keep things safe, Army National Guard, Santa Rosa Police Department and last but not least, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office.MORE

New Year, New Problems: New California Laws All Employers Must Be Aware Of

As the clock strikes midnight on January 1, 2018, people around the country will be celebrating with grand hopes of prospering in the New Year. However, California employers should be prepared to take on the ever-changing employment landscape before the first champagne (or cider) bottle is popped.MORE

Pesticide Use Near Schools, Erosion Control Plans

In the ever-changing regulatory environment we are presented with many adaptive challenges each year in the form of new or more restrictive regulations. In the case of agricultural pesticide use, new regulations are now in effect that restrict the type and timing of applications near schools and licensed child care facilities throughout the county.MORE

Scholarship Recipients: Where Are They Now?

In 2017, the Farm Bureau Foundation of Sonoma County awarded more than $130,000 in scholarships to students in Sonoma and Marin Counties studying in agricultural related fields at four year universities and the Santa Rosa Junior College.MORE

Bee-Well Farms: In The Face of Destruction, Austin and Melissa Lely Are Resilient Young Farmers with a Positive Outlook on the Future of Agriculture

Austin and Melissa Lely met at Chico State in 2010. They graduated as recreation majors and neither had a farming background. After graduating, the married couple moved to Glen Ellen, near where Austin grew up. Austin, 28, and Melissa, 27, fell in love with food and said their shared interest just spiraled. At the same time, the couple was seeing issues with the local food system, and saw a trend towards consumers seeking healthy food. Five years ago, they moved to a house in Glen Continue reading →MORE

People, Poultry and Planet: Petaluma Poultry Is a Leader in the Poultry Industry

Founded in 1969 by Allan Shainsky, Petaluma Poultry has been a local company for more than 40 years. They returned to their “old fashioned flavor” in 1986 when they began feeding a vegetarian diet, committed to never using antibiotics and introduced Rocky the Free Range Chicken. MORE

The Future is a Return to Farm Bureau’s Mission

In Sonoma County, our rich agriculture heritage is continually under attack from community members and elected officials who do not understand farming. There has never been more of a need for strong advocacy, education and communication on behalf of farmers. Sonoma County Farm Bureau’s board understands this and is making changes at Farm Bureau to provide leadership in defending and promoting local agriculture. MORE

Let’s Keep the Party Going

Many of us joined together on the last Saturday in February to pay tribute to an amazing man, Rich Kunde. But all of us at the Celebration of Life knew that you couldn’t speak Rich’s name without referencing Saralee.MORE

Tristan Benson Joins Sonoma County Farm Bureau’s Board of Directors

Tristan Benson has joined the Board of Directors for Sonoma County Farm Bureau. Benson, 34, joins the board as the chair of the Sonoma-Marin Young Farmers & Ranchers (YF&R), a committee of Sonoma County Farm Bureau for active agriculturists between the ages of 18 and 35 who are involved in production, banking, business, and many other areas of the agriculture industry. MORE

Samantha Piehoff Joins Sonoma County Farm Bureau Staff as Executive Assistant & Office Manager

Samantha Piehoff, a fourth generation Sonoma County resident, has joined the Sonoma County Farm Bureau team as Executive Assistant & Office Manager. MORE

California County Agricultural and Weights and Measures Descend on Sonoma County for Annual Conference

The California Association of Standards and Agricultural Professionals (CASAP) is an organization of California state licensed agricultural and weights and measures professionals committed to education, communication, and professionalism among its members.MORE

Sonoma County Ag Days Educates 5,000 Students About All Aspects of Agriculture

As 5,000 students descended on the Sonoma County Fairgrounds and splashed through puddles on March 13 and 14, it was obvious they were all excited for a day out of the classroom.MORE

Marin County Board of Supervisors to Conduct Public Hearing April 24 on Proposed New California Coastal Commission Permit Requirements

After nearly a decade of discussions, hearings and workshops, additional modifications were made to the California Coastal Commission’s (CCC) decisions following its November 2, 2016 public workshop that have increased farmer and rancher anxiety.MORE

Ag Immigration Reform

In recent months there has been much talk and effort by the U.S. Senate to reform the United State’s immigration policy. During the month of February, there were four votes in the U.S. Senate on different immigration amendments. All four failed to gain the 60 votes needed for approval some by as little as seven votes. Why is it so difficult for Republicans and Democrats to find common ground and make meaningful change? In three of the proposed amendments, there was a path to citizenship Continue reading →MORE

Is California Creating More Bureaucracies with the GSAs?

“Whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting over” is a quote that has been around for at least 150 years. Even some of our favorite westerns have John Wayne or Clint Eastwood stepping up to help the small cattleman protect his water rights that are being threatened by the local land baron or greedy miner. I am sure those stories portraited in film were based on some truths, and I doubt that our forefathers would have predicted that in the 21st century there Continue reading →MORE

Jim’s Supply Co., Inc., to rebrand its Vineyard and Trellising Division as JSC Agricultural Supply

Jim’s Supply Co., Inc., to rebrand its Vineyard and Trellising Division as JSC Agricultural Supply Company to re-brand, reflecting its growing product line and services while maintaining its unique manufacturing roots Jim’s Supply Co., Inc., is rebranding its vineyard and trellising division to JSC Agricultural Supply. The company will continue to focus on manufacturing and providing solutions to the agriculture industry, while the rebranding will better reflect the company’s recently expanded product line. JSC Agricultural Supply continues to be owned and operated by the same Continue reading →MORE

Is Talk of a Multi-Nation Trade Battle Cooling Off, Or Just Toning Down?

News reports focusing on the simmering debate over U.S. tariffs and trade policies have centered largely on relations with the U.S.’s largest trading partner — The Peoples Republic of China and its free trade port of Hong Kong, gateway to the country’s interior. However, this dissension has also spilled over in discussions about trade agreements involving other major importers of U.S. goods, such as Canada and Mexico. While some see this posturing as just a prelude to formal discussions – that will produce softer positions Continue reading →MORE

Farm Bureau Honors Doug McIlroy with the Luther Burbank Conservation Award

Russian River Runs through Life of Ag Advocate Doug McIlroy   Like the Russian River, wine industry leader Doug McIlroy is part of the agricultural and environmental landscape. With continuing ebbs and flows, McIlroy steadfastly moves forward to navigate a delicate balance between farming and fish, production and preservation.   And like the river that has defined his life, McIlroy is tied into Sonoma County’s political landscape as well. Water, after all, is something Californians have been fighting over for 150 years.   McIlroy, director Continue reading →MORE

Proposed Housing Bond is Another Tax on Ag

At Sonoma County Farm Bureau’s April Board meeting, Lynda Hopkins, Sonoma County 5th District Supervisor and Jack Tibbetts, a member of the Santa Rosa City Council, presented the proposed Affordable Housing Bond for Sonoma County. This bond is a proposed tax of $19.53 for every $100,000 of assessed property value on every Sonoma County parcel for the next 26 years. Seventy-five percent of the fund would be used to build housing that “serves and is affordable to extremely low, very low and low-income households.” The Continue reading →MORE

Cannabis “Era” Starts Now

The cannabis industry and how our community deals with it continues to be front page news. With our local leaders making so many critical decisions related to the fire devastation, it is somewhat mindboggling to think that a plant that has been around for centuries is sharing the limelight. I surmise that the history books (ok history blogs) a century from now will catalog the cannabis “era” as one of the most unsettling periods in our County’s chronicles. For our county policymakers, it has been Continue reading →MORE

ADVOCACY: Your Farm Bureau Working for You

As the united voice of Agriculture, our MISSION is to represent, protect and advance the social, economic and educational interests of the farmers and ranchers of Sonoma County.   Here are the key issues we have been working on:   Onsite Wastewater Treatment System (OWTS) Revised Local Agency Management Plan (LAMP): At their May 22nd meeting, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors considered revisions to the Sonoma County Onsite Wastewater Treatment System Manual (OWTS) Local Agency Management Plan (LAMP). These revisions to the County manual Continue reading →MORE

Notes from the Sonoma County Ag Commissioner

Pest Detection Trapping Program The Sonoma County Department of Agriculture deploys and services various exotic insect pest detection traps throughout the county in both agricultural and urban environments. This trapping effort is to detect the presence of exotic insect pests before they establish a population and become very hard to eradicate. This program detects the presence of fruit fly pests and other injurious plant pests that have the potential to devastate agriculture and forestry industries as well as native ecosystems. Insects targeted for detection by Continue reading →MORE

Al Gerhardt, the “Last of the Cowboys,” Inducted into Farm Bureau’s Hall of Fame

With his Stetson and signature suspenders, the late Al Gerhardt was a familiar figure at fairs and fund-raisers, never missing one of the 4-H or FFA events held throughout Sonoma County. A man of the land, Gerhardt, who was 79 when he died last fall, believed in agriculture in the way he practiced his Catholic faith – resolute and committed. He was always ready to help others and give-back to the community, whether handing out apples to kids at AG Days or delivering food to Continue reading →MORE

Farmers for Free Trade Estimates Cost of New Tariffs for Ag Industry

In response to higher Section 232 import tariffs imposed by the U.S. on steel and aluminum imports from the Peoples Republic of China, on April 2 new retaliatory tariffs averaging up to 15% (25% for pork) went into effect on many American agricultural products imported by China. These tariff increases on metals have a collateral damage affect on California farm exports since beer comes in aluminum containers and fruits, vegetables, table nuts and some meat products are typically packaged in steel cans. Twenty-two days later, Continue reading →MORE

Sonoma County’s Future Agriculturalists – Congratulations 2018 Scholarship Winners

The school year is coming to a rapid close once again. With graduation from high school, young ag kids turn to the Sonoma County Farm Bureau Foundation to apply for College Scholarships. These scholarships help students pursue higher education in agriculture related fields. The money can be used to offset the ever increasing and expensive costs of tuition and living expenses. The recipient must prove enrollment in classes and write a thank you note to the donor before receiving the funds. The Sonoma County Farm Continue reading →MORE

The Original Farm Team

While enjoying a beautiful Sonoma County afternoon at the Premium Member luncheon at the Kunde Winery, many things that Secretary Ross said resonated with me, but one significant “take away” from her stellar keynote was how farm families are the best at succession planning. In my biased opinion, agriculturalists are the best at many things, but Secretary Ross’ praise for how farmers and ranchers pass the baton from one generation to the next explains why our industry never falters. Even during natural disasters, eras of Continue reading →MORE

Department Of Ag

Asian Citrus Psyllid Detection Trapping With the conclusion of winter, the seasonal county detection trapping for the Asian Citrus Psyllid (Diaphorina citri) also concludes. The Asian Citrus Psyllid (ACP) is a vector of the disease Huanglongbing (HLB). HLB is caused by the transmission of the bacterium Candidatus Liberibacteri spp. to citrus plants. When infected with HLB, citrus plants express symptoms such as yellow mottling of leaves, premature defoliation, root decay, stunted growth, bitter, irregularly shaped fruit, and eventual plant death. In effort to prevent the Continue reading →MORE

It’s a Harmony-ous Life
Meet Harmony Ag Supply & Harmony Farm Supply & Nursery

Harmony Ag Supply 1175 River Rd. – Fulton (707) 546-7706 Hours: Mon – Fri 8 am – 5pm Harmony Farm Supply & Nursery 3244 Gravenstein Highway North – Sebastopol (707) 823-9125 www.HarmonyFarm.com Hours: Mon – Sat: 7:30 am to 5 pm and Sunday: 8:30 am to 5 pm ———————————————————————– Don’t Miss Customer Appreciation Day! Saturday, July 12th 9 am – 2 pm: Free Taco lunch starts at Noon ———————————————————————– Harmony’s commitment is to the Earth, to Quality and to the Community Harmony’s philosophy is based Continue reading →MORE

Young Farmers & Ranchers 5th Annual Sporting Clays Shoot

The Sonoma-Marin Young Farmers and Ranchers hosted their annual fifth Sporting Clays Shoot on Sunday, May 6th at Wing and Barrel Ranch in Sonoma. YF&R sold out their 75 shooter tickets in record time – just one day of regular sale! Participants included Congressman Mike Thompson, Sheriff Rob Giordano and Captain Mark Essick, many local farmers, business owners and agriculture support industry professionals. Following breakfast and a safety briefing the teams of five made their way through 15 fully automated stations, trying their luck at Continue reading →MORE

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Advocating for Agriculture & Its Way of Life

The Dutton Family has been farming in Sonoma County for more than five generations. This year, apple and winegrape grower Steve Dutton begins his term as President of Sonoma County Farm Bureau.MORE

Ryan Ranch: 130 Years of Farming for Future Generations

The Ryan Ranch, between Bodega and Occidental, is nearing its 130-year anniversary. Founded in 1887 by Andrew Fitzpatrick, the ranch was originally purchased to harvest lumber and raise dairy cattle.MORE

Big Boots to Fill

After spending the last four years on the executive team of Sonoma County Farm Bureau with John Azevedo, I have seen firsthand the dedication and countless hours John has dedicated to Farm Bureau. During his tenure as Sonoma County Farm Bureau’s President, John has been down in the trenches working hard to support local agriculture. MORE

Keeping Our Farms in the Fight

It is during this time of year that most people reflect on where they have been and what they accomplished during the prior year, and then look forward to what is ahead as far as challenges that remain and opportunities to forge a path ahead. In Farm Bureau, this process plays out at the state level across the country between the end of harvest and the Christmas holiday. MORE

Hannah Lipman Hired as Sonoma County Farm Bureau’s 2017 Intern

Hannah Lipman, a Santa Rosa native, has been hired as Sonoma County Farm Bureau’s intern for 2017. Lipman graduated from Santa Rosa high school in June 2016 where she was heavily involved in the school’s agriculture program. MORE

Roasted Winter Vegetables with Brown Butter Sage

We all get a little tired of cooking right after the holidays. When the season of time consuming comfort food is over, we like to make these quick Roasted Winter Vegetables. They’re extremely simple, but full of flavor from the brown butter and crisp sage leaves. After ten minutes of prep time and twenty minutes in the oven, they’re ready to serve.MORE

Wilson Artisan Wineries Offer Children of Vineyard Workers Scholarships

Scholarships of $750 to $2,000 will be awarded to children of Sonoma County vineyard workers. Scholarships are open to high school seniors continuing their education and to students who are already in a college, trade or technical school.MORE

Ag Leader Terry Lindley Retires from American AgCredit after 40 Year Career

Lender, leader, rancher and agricultural visionary – not to mention benefactor and friend. Terry Lindley’s remarkable legacy fits all those categories following a distinguished career that has spanned four decades in his adopted homeland of Sonoma County. Hard to believe but the agricultural wunderkind is now 61 years old. As of Jan. 31, he retired as the chief marketing officer and senior vice president of American AgCredit, a once hometown farm lending agency that has become the fifth largest Farm Credit Association in the nation.MORE

Hog Island Oyster Co: Stewards of the Land and Water

As the one who “went to the water”, Terry Sawyer describes himself as the black sheep of his family. Sawyer came from a family with farmers on both sides, and his family still owns a ranch in the valley. Sawyer, a co-owner of Hog Island Oyster Co., describes the difference between aquaculture and agriculture as a very fine line.MORE

The Numbers Matter

In December, the officers and I were the delegation from Sonoma County Farm Bureau to California Farm Bureau’s annual meeting in Monterey. During the House of Delegates Business session, we spent time discussing Farm Bureau’s dues structure and how much dues would be in the future.MORE

Agriculture Students & Research

February marks the beginning of “education season” at Farm Bureau. Our training calendar is gearing up for county farmers and ranchers to take advantage of learning and continuing education credit opportunities through early May. Also later this month scholarship applications will be available for students planning to pursue post-secondary education this fall. MORE

Summer Jeffus Hired as Regional Marketing Manager for American AgCredit

Summer Jeffus has been hired as the regional marketing manager for American AgCredit. Jeffus and Matt Wilson, American AgCredit’s new marketing director, will replace Terry Lindley who is retiring after having been with the company for more than 40 years. Jeffus grew up in San Luis Obispo on her family’s farm where they grew turf grass and sold soil amendments.MORE

Denner Ranch: 125 Years of Farming In Santa Rosa

Denner Ranches, established in 1890, is operated by Kathy Reese and her husband Steve, Russ Denner and his wife Joanne and their son Brian Denner. The property was purchased by Reese and Denner’s great grandfather who emigrated from Devonshire England, originally settling in Illinois before coming west and deciding Santa Rosa was the place he wanted to live. MORE

Sonoma County Farm Bureau: Working For You 2016

Sonoma County Farm Bureau values our members and works hard to support local agriculture, keeping it viable in the county by protecting the industry from over regulation and continuing to educate the general public and farmers alike. We want to take this opportunity to share a small snippet of what Sonoma County Farm Bureau has done to protect and promote agriculture over the last year.MORE

Cast Iron Skillet Omelet

This omelet is lighter than the traditional omelet and easy to make. Rich with flavor because of the Gruyere and leeks, it’s perfect for a weekend breakfast. The benefit to a skillet omelet is that everyone can eat at the same time. We like to serve it with a splash of our favorite hot sauce and a small dollop of sour cream.MORE

Great Sonoma Crab and Wine Fest: From 150 to 1,500

2017 marks Sonoma County Farm Bureau’s 100th year of promoting and protecting agriculture lands and farming operations through advocacy and education. As Sonoma County Farm Bureau celebrates a century of helping the community, this year’s Great Sonoma Crab and Wine Fest held strong in its 28th year. MORE

Deadline for Farm Bureau Foundation Scholarship Applications is April 7

This year the Farm Bureau Foundation will award more than $110,000 in scholarships to Sonoma County students pursuing higher education at a four year college, junior college or vocational school within an agricultural related field. MORE

Where’s the Crab?

As you wander through the pages of this month’s Farm News you will no doubt either recall your personal experience from attending, or learn about what you missed from the 28th annual Great Sonoma Crab and Wine Fest. Yes, it was a very successful event again and remains as one of the largest, if not the largest, Dungeness crab feeds synonymous with winter along the North Coast.MORE

Support for Sonoma County Ag

On February 4th, Sonoma County Farm Bureau held its 28th annual crab feed and agricultural education fundraiser. Once again, we had 1,500 people attend the event that sold out two weeks ahead of time. It is a true testament of local support that so many people from the community came to socialize, drink Sonoma County wine, eat local crab and bid on both the silent and live auctions. MORE

Groverman Ranch: Veterinarian Keeps Family Property in Ag for 100 Years

Throughout Sonoma County, the name Groverman is synonymous with a veterinarian who has dedicated his life to the county’s agricultural community. Dr. Fred Groverman, 83, has spent a lifetime as a beloved large and small animal veterinarian but also as a shepherd of his Shropshire flock which he raises on a 50 acre farm that’s been in his family since the early 1900’s.MORE

Four Seasons Vineyard Management: How a Passion for Farming Led To the Creation of A Successful Small Business

Victor Trentadue has been farming his entire life. He was born into a farming family which was growing cherries and apricots in San Jose. As the area faced problems related to urbanization, the family moved in 1959, choosing to resettle in the Dry Creek Valley. The Trentadues chose the Dry Creek Valley because they already had relatives living there. MORE

Southwestern Veggie Wrap

This veggie wrap is great for lunch or dinner and is made with seasonal vegetables. The cashew cream is our favorite ingredient; it adds a sweet nutty flavor that is the star of this recipe. Any leftover cashew cream is perfect for dipping raw veggies in or add some garlic and spices to it and toss it with pasta or zucchini noodles.MORE

Russian River Confluence Slated to Develop Long Term Action Plan

On Friday, March 24, a diverse group of stakeholders from Mendocino and Sonoma counties will gather at Santa Rosa Junior College’s Shone Farm in Forestville to launch a multi-generational plan to enhance and revitalize the Russian River watershed. The group, led by Sonoma County Supervisor James Gore, includes farmers, members of several tribes, ecologists, local agency representatives, paddlers, and elected officialsMORE

Saralee McClelland Kunde Memorial Sonoma County Youth Pruning Contest

The 13th Annual Saralee McClelland Kunde Memorial Sonoma County Youth Pruning Contest and Viticulture Challenge drew 25 contestants to Santa Rosa Junior College’s Shone Farm on Saturday, February 11th. The Sonoma-Marin Young Farmers and Ranchers, with the guidance of Pat Stornetta, helped organize the contest.MORE

4,000 Students Learn About Agriculture at Sonoma County Farm Bureau’s Ag Days

Seventy three vendors and more than 200 volunteers helped 4000 students learned about agriculture at SCFB's Ag Days this year, and SCFB hopes that many students will take that knowledge home and share it with family and friends. MORE

Imwalle Gardens: Four Generations and 120 Years of Selling Produce to Santa Rosa Residents

On West Third Street in Santa Rosa you'll find the Imwalle family's produce store where four generations have sold produce to Santa Rosa residents. Joe Imwalle, 76, has run the family business since he was 24 years old and still works 12 hour days.MORE

Fees & Regulations in Agriculture

Back when both the Denner Ranch and Farm Bureau began 100 years ago, regulation, licenses and fees were almost nonexistent. Even when my father Warren started his own business in Graton in 1964, these were few and far between.Over the last 50 years, government has grown and so has everything that goes along with it. To be in business or to start a business today is a daunting task. It costs farmers money from the bottom line to license business practices we would most likely already be doing.MORE

Clover Stornetta Farms Rebrands as Clover Sonoma

Known for their billboards up and down 101 featuring Clo the Cow, Clover Stornetta Farms rebranded as Clover Sonoma in March. Announced in early March, the company believes the refreshed Clover Sonoma name honors the company’s heritage of being from Sonoma County while looking ahead to Clover’s expanded product distribution to Southern California and beyond. MORE

Wes Jamison Merit Awards

The Jamison Fund was established 27 years ago for the purpose of providing financial assistance to the high school agriculture programs and FFA chapters in Santa Rosa. This year 14 students received awards to support their FFA livestock projects they will sell at the fair. MORE

Roasted Asparagus with Lemon Dill Butter

April means asparagus is at its best and this side dish is great with almost any main course. The Meyer lemon from our grandpa's tree inspired the sauce with fresh dill and everyone's favorite, creamy butter. Look for firm but tender stalks with bright green color and closed tips.MORE

Oak Ridge Angus: 105 Years of Raising Cattle in Sonoma County

At 14 years old, Massimino LaFranchi emigrated from Switzerland in 1888 and made his living milking cows. In 1912, the he bought 500 acres of land on the outskirts of Calistoga forming Oak Ridge Farm, named after the oak trees found along the hills of the property. MORE

A Stable Workforce

What do California and Sonoma County farmers have to do to secure a stable labor force? According to the LA Times, wages for crop production in California increased 13% from 2010 to 2015, twice as fast as average pay in the state. In Sonoma County, many growers pay $3 to $5 above minimum wage giving our employees a chance to make $120 to $150 per day.MORE

Why, Who, How, What?

The last week of April at the Sonoma County Farm Bureau offices saw two days of thoughtful and inspiring discussion. Gathering together for the interaction were thirty plus professional staff representing County Farm Bureaus from across the northern “half” of California. Most of these leaders were my peer Executive Directors or County Managers along with some county Farm Bureau program staff.MORE

Living Amongst Non-Farming Neighbors in Rural Sonoma County

Sonoma County has always been an agricultural community. Our rural communities are rich with farming families who have been doing so for generations. To these families, everyday life on the farm is routine. Farming and ranching practices are second nature and often times we don't consider how outsiders view certain occurrences on the farm. MORE

Strawberry Rhubarb Tea Cake

Rhubarb is very colorful and in season and works beautifully in this tea cake. This recipe is slightly sweet and buttery and can be served for brunch or a light dessert. MORE

Jackson Family Wines Receives Luther Burbank Conservation Award

Although Jackson Family Wines formally launched their sustainability program in 2008, the company was founded with sustainability in mind. When the late Jess Jackson, founder of Kendall-Jackson, thought about farming he was mindful of taking care of the land and wanted to build a company that would last for multiple generations. His daughter, Katie Jackson, who now manages JFW’s sustainability program and external affairs, said her father’s long term view point meant he was focused on being a responsible land steward as well as a Continue reading →MORE

Earl and Dot Holtz Inducted Into Sonoma County Farm Bureau Hall of Fame

Earl and Dot Holtz have dedicated thier life to bettering the Sonoma County Dairy industry. Earl and his wife Dot came to Sonoma County in 1964 and have spent their lifetime supporting the dairy industry and educating the public about the importance of agriculture.This year, the Holtzes will be inducted into Sonoma County Farm Bureau's Hall of Fame. MORE

Robert Young Estate Vineyard and Winery: 159 Years

Peter Young immigrated to New York in the early 1800’s and came to California in the 1850’s for the Gold Rush. He settled on 120 acres in Alexander Valley, where he raised cattle for leather and sheep. At their peak, the Young family had more than 700 head of sheep, raised grain and herds of cattle. Peter cleared the land in the 1870’s and prepared it for the first prune orchard. Peter’s son, Silas, followed in his father’s footsteps. The tradition of growing prunes was carried on by Silas’s son Robert, who was born in 1919.MORE

Ags Shrinking Bottom Line

Over the last 18 months, agricultural businesses in California have seen an onslaught of new regulations. These laws were voted into effect by the California legislature. The legislature that the citizens of California elected into office. These new regulations have a direct impact to Sonoma County ag's bottom line.MORE

Farm Bureau Foundation Awards More Than $130,000 in Scholarships to Students Studying Agriculture in Sonoma and Marin Counties

Farm Bureau Foundation of Sonoma County has awarded more than $130,000 to top students in Sonoma and Marin Counties pursuing higher education in agricultural related fields. This year, 44 students will receive scholarships. All of the recipients are graduating high school seniors and students continuing their education at a four year university or the Santa Rosa Junior College. Scholarship winners are majoring in agricultural business, animal science, dairy science, ag education, viticulture and diesel technology. MORE

Sonoma County Farm Bureau Hosts AFBF President Zippy Duvall, Supervisor Zane and CFBF 1st Vice President at Premium Member Lunch

We hosted the American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall, Supervisor Shirlee Zane and CFBF 1st Vice President at the annual Premium Member Lunch. In addition to other special guests, 40 of Sonoma County's influntail ag producers attended.MORE

Summer Vegetable Skewers with Avocado Cilantro Dip

This Avocado Cilantro Dip is cool and refreshing for summer as a side to any of your barbeque favorites. We often use skewers as appetizers and this recipe fits that perfectly. The recipe is fun and easy, you can prepare the skewers up to 1 day ahead of time and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. MORE

Walker Apples: 107 Years of Family Farming Tradition

Lee Walker, 86, is a sixth generation apple farmer in Graton whose 50 acre apple farm epitomizes the term family business. Walker manages the farm alongside his son Lee Walker III, but around the property you will always find a handful of family members putting in their best effort on top of their day jobs to help the family business succeed. MORE

Gamlake Dairy: The Gambonini Family, Passionate About Dairy Cattle, Has Been Farming on the Same Land for 104 Years

The Gambonini family has been farming in Petaluma for nearly 150 years, passing down their family ranch off Lakeville Highway for the last 104 years. Frank Gambonini runs the ranch alongside his wife Stacey, and the couple has three daughters who are actively involved in the ranch and the dairy industry. MORE

The Gravenstein Apple

Sonoma County apples, especially the Gravenstein, have been a staple here since 1883 when Luther Burbank advised Nathaniel Griffith to plant Gravenstein apples on his 78 acre ranch on Laguna Road in Sebastopol. With that, the commercial apple industry was born. At the beginning of World War II in 1940, Sebastopol had its high point of 13,875 acres of apples with 9,750 acres planted in Gravenstein. MORE

Hello Folks! Do You Know that Sonoma County Has…

We get to see just how much value agriculture provides by way of annual reports, detailing the production and harvest of crops that provide jobs and resulting income, not including the government taxes and fees collected each year from these activities. MORE

Emily Janowski Hired As Membership Development and Advertising Coordinator

Emily Janowski, a Santa Rosa native raised in Fortuna, has been hired as Sonoma County Farm Bureau’s Membership Development and Advertising Coordinator. Janowski is a recent graduate of Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and past Member Services Coordinator for the San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau.MORE

New Survey Highlights the Valuable Contributions of Local Winegrape Growers to Sonoma County

A new survey of more than 295 winegrape growers in Sonoma County confirms that the local winegrape industry provides a number of valuable contributions to the community. As one of the largest employers, winegrape growers pay top wages to their workers and serve as generous philanthropists contributing to non-profit organizations and groups in every corner of Sonoma County.MORE

Apple Cherry Bake

This is a great recipe to make and take to BBQ’s, potlucks, and family gatherings. It’s easy to make and celebrates one of the best fruits of the season: apples! Although gala apples are one of our favorites (and native to California!) you can replace them with your favorite variety. MORE

Love of the Land honors Stewards of the Land

On July 13th, more than 1,000 people gathered at Richard’s Grove and Saralee’s vineyard to celebrate agriculture. Sonoma County Farm Bureau’s annual Love of the Land event, was successful in bringing in people from all facets of agriculture to socialize and honor stewards of the landMORE

Vanoni Ranch: Six Generations and 115 Years of Farming in Geyserville

Mark Vanoni emigrated from Switzerland with his wife Angelina in the mid 1800’s. They settled on the Central Coast and had a dairy below the Hearst Castle. However, a severe drought in 1898 caused the family to lose their dairy. The Vanonis searched the state for a new ranch, seeking a piece of property with ample water. They purchased their Geyserville ranch in the first couple years of the 1900’s.MORE

Through the Years

For Sonoma County Farm Bureau members who may have not noticed, this year has marked the centennial year since local farmers and ranchers came together in 1917 to organize as a county Farm Bureau. Sonoma County, along with seven other county Farm Bureaus and several farms and ranches were inducted into the Agricultural Heritage Club last month in recognition of 100 years continuous operation. MORE

Collaboration is Key to Ensure Long Term Ag Preservation

In June, I was honored to be invited by the Sonoma County Winegrowers (SCW) to educate sommeliers and consumers on Sonoma County’s sustainability initiative in Washington D.C. and New York City. With me were my fellow grape growers Brad Petersen from Silver Oak Winery and Doug McIlroy from Rodney Strong Vineyards. MORE

Graffiti Abatement

Graffiti is a wide range of markings, etchings, and painting that deface public and private property. The graffiti offenders use different materials to perform their criminal acts such as; spray paint, permanent markers, crayons, chalk, or lipstick. MORE

Joe Rochioli Honored for Outstanding Achievements in FFA and Agriculture

Joe Rochioli Jr. was honored for his outstanding Achievements in FFA and Agriculture by the Healdsburg High School FFA Ag Boosters Board on June 24, 2017 at their Shrimp Boil and Bluegrass fundraiser at Jackson Family Wine's Richard’s Grove. More than 150 guests turned out for the 2nd annual event, including leaders from the business and agricultural sectors. MORE

Summer Fire Safety

Working on the North Valley Animal Disaster Group, (NVADG), Evacuation Team at the Wall Fire really brought home the importance of preparedness for rural home, horse and livestock owners. As we searched for roads, driveways, and animals, we could not help but think of our own neighborhoods. Who would be there for Sonoma? And, how would they find the animals?MORE

Zucchini Rollatini

All of that extra zucchini from the garden is perfect for this rustic homemade dish. We have used Roma tomatoes for the sauce but you can substitute any tomatoes you may be growing. MORE

Heidrun Meadery: Marin County’s Honey Wine

From Geologist to Meadmaker, Gordon Hull's Business Encompasses the Entire Ecological Cycle of Mead. He opened his meadery in Arcata in 1997 and produced his first batch in 1998. Ten years ago, Hull moved his business to Pt. Reyes Station where he could expand his business to encompass beekeeping and horticultural practices.MORE

Sonoma-Marin Young Farmers and Ranchers August Ag Tour

In August, in lieu of a general meeting, the Sonoma-Marin Young Farmers and Ranchers attended an educational ag tour. The group toured the Redwood Empire Food Bank, Bear Republic Brewery and Oak Ridge Angus to learn about the local food system and the Range to Table Program. More than 30 ag professionals attended the tour. MORE

Helping Understand Sonoma County’s Most Important Time of Year

As agriculturalists, we need to work on educating people about the reasons we do the things we do during this time of year. This is especially critical as grape harvest starts to gear up into full swing. We are all in a harvest frenzy to bring our crops in, but we need to stop and take a moment to recognize how we affect the people around us.MORE

Big Brother

The controversial issue consuming thousands of hours of effort and likely millions in legal expenses involves one California farmer running afoul of a federal government bureaucrat. This conflict has centered around interpreting recent rule changes of the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) that was originally passed into law in 1972 during the Nixon administration.MORE

Andrea Rodriguez Named Sonoma County Farm Bureau’s Government Relations Director

Rodriguez brings extensive experience in Sonoma County, most recently serving as Sonoma State University's Director of Government and Community Relations. Prior to her role at SSU, Rodriguez spent five years as the Marketing and Special Events Director for the Volunteer Center of Sonoma County.MORE

Ken Lafranchi Chooses Premium Membership to Support Sonoma County Agriculture

As an architect in downtown Santa Rosa, Ken Lafranchi's connection to agriculture runs deep. His family traces back to an old dairy in Marin, and his father the late Art Lafranchi was a dairyman and attorney in Santa Rosa.MORE

2016 Sonoma County Crop Report

The Sonoma County Department of Agriculture presented the 2016 Crop Report at the Board of Supervisors Meeting on Tuesday August 1st. The theme of this year's crop report was "Growing Winegrapes, Sustainably". The total reported value of agricultural products in Sonoma County was $898,125,200, a 17% increase from 2015.MORE

National Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month. FEMA provides agencies, non-profits and individuals with great tool kits. We've taken the FEMA 2017 Weekly Themes and added ideas that are especially relevant to farmers.MORE

Stemple Creek Ranch: Poncia Family Raises Grass-Fed and Organic Meat

Twelve years ago, Loren Poncia and his wife Lisa decided they wanted to try to establish an agricultural business of their own. They set out to raise high quality beef.Today, the Poncias run their cattle in Sonoma, Marin, and Humboldt counties on both owned and leased pasture.MORE

Anderson Family Ranch: 159 Years of Sonoma County Agriculture

Twin brothers Henry and John Himbauch bought two 415 acre parcels on Petaluma Hill Road in August of 1948.Nearly 160 years later, Henry Himbauch's great-great-grandson, Henry James Anderson, and his family still operate approximately 300 acres of the original parcel.MORE

Turning Pages

This past year, Sonoma County Farm Bureau has been celebrating the past by recognizing our centennial anniversary during all of the organization's traditional events and regularly through our communication channels. There is a good chance you have recently received a postcard invitation to an event that will mark the conclusion of the year-long centennial recognition.MORE

Anti-Ag Sentiment Cannot Go Unanswered

After four years winemaker and Sonoma County resident David Ramey's proposed Westside Road winery was approved by the Sonoma County Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) on a three to one vote. People move here because of the open space and beautiful agriculture character, but then want to oppose any development that would support Sonoma County's most valuable ag crop.MORE

Marin County Local Costal Plan

The Marin County Farm Bureau has been working with the Marin County Community Development Agency, the Marin County Board of Supervisors and the California Coastal Commission for nearly a decade to update a single planning document - The Marin County Local Coastal Plan.MORE

Trentadue Winery: Supporting Local Agriculture for 58 Years

Leo and Evelyn Trentadue settled on the family land, where Evelyn's Great Grand Father farmed with horse drawn plows. The Trentadues planted their first block of winegrapes in 1962; they planted the Italian varietal, Carignane, alongside the 68 acres already growing on the ranch.MORE

Membership as Leadership

Although a discount on a Ford truck, travel or insurance shouldn't be the main reason you are a member, we recognize the value in providing our members with both local and state discounts. Sonoma County Farm Bureau is the only organization fighting for you on every issue relevant to agriculture.MORE

North Bay Wildfires: How to Help the Agricultural Community

Thank you to everyone who has reached out and asked how to help your rural neighbors in need. Efforts to support our agricultural community within Sonoma County will be an ongoing long-term project. Here's how you can help the agricultural community right now. MORE

Sonoma County Agriculture Community Shows Strength and Resilience Following North Bay Wildfires

Despite the recent devastation our community experienced, more than 90% of Sonoma County was left unharmed, and in the weeks following the fire, our community has shown we are stronger than ever. Karen Ross, Secretary of CDFA, reiterated this when she spoke at Sonoma County Farm Bureau’s fire recovery town hall meeting.MORE

Crane Family: 165 Years of Farming in Santa Rosa

Jennifer Crane is part of the sixth generation farming on family property in Santa Rosa. Many know the family’s historic barn that they drive by on Petaluma Hill Road where they can purchase Crane Melons at the end of the summer and shop for Christmas gifts in the winter. MORE

Agriculture’s Response in a Crisis

Monday, October 9th marked the beginning of the worst firestorm in California history. As parts of Sonoma County were devastated by wildfires, our agriculture community stepped up to protect livestock and property. Sonoma County Farm Bureau is at the forefront of this effort setting up the Agriculture and Rural Lands Resource Town Hall meetingMORE

Sonoma County Fires: A Declaration

Times like these are etched into the minds and souls of anyone who experiences them. Yes, time will pass, but the memory of the moment will come back in a flash with only the slightest little nudge. October 2017 is now a mark in history for all of us. I can recall a few of these times when memories are crystal clear. MORE

Theft Prevention

According to the California Peace Officer’s Penal Code (PC) article 487 Grand Theft is a value over $950.00, Farm Crops over $250.00, Fish or Aquaculture Products, Theft from Person, Livestock Theft, Precious Metal Theft and so on. Grand Theft is considered a felony and should be reported to Law Enforcement as soon as possible.MORE

Celebrating 100 Years of Farm Bureau and the Future of Sonoma County Agriculture

In 1917, a group of Sonoma County farmers banded together with a mission: to unify their voices to protect agriculture for future generations.MORE

Ag Leader to Remember

A mass for Al Gerhardt will be held at St. Phillips Church in Occidental at 1 p.m. on Friday January 12th. A reception will be held at 3 p.m. at Sonoma County Farm Bureau (3589 Westwind Blvd, Santa Rosa, CA 95403). MORE

100 Years of Farm Bureau

Sonoma County Farm Bureau was started in 1917, and this year we’re celebrating the families who maintained their farm in Sonoma County for 100 years. Here are 100 families who have been farming on the same land in Sonoma County for more than 100 years!MORE

Sonoma County Farm Bureau Launches New Website

Sonoma County Farm Bureau is excited to share with you our new website launching in December. Alongside our website, you’ll notice changes to other Farm Bureau materials all of which we see coming together to modernize our organization as we continue to support our members over the next 100 years.MORE

Sweet Potato Casserole with Meringue

This sweet potato casserole is a new twist on the traditional candied sweet potatoes including swapping out meringue for marshmallow topping . The cinnamon in the sweet potatoes balances out the sweetness of the meringue, making a perfect winter side dish to celebrate the season. MORE

Land for Future Generations

Jim Doerksen described his decision to sell his 124 acre ag preserve to LandPaths as selfish. With no children to inherit the land after Doerksen and his wife Betty both pass, he knew the best way for the land to stay in agriculture and educate children about nature would be with LandPaths. However, the Doerksens’ devotion to preserving their land and their dedication to agriculture seems anything but selfish. MORE

From Cowboy Candy to Exotic Meat, Bud’s Custom Meats is a Sonoma County Sensation

Matt Gamba in front of the retail portion of Bud’s Custom MeatsMORE

2016, The Year of Unified Agriculture

With a new year brings new opportunities. After all of the issues we have tackled over the last year I am looking forward to getting some more resolved and hopefully behind us. I think 2016 is the year a unified agriculture will be as important as ever for Sonoma County. MORE

Sphere of Influence

Anyone who has been involved with leadership in Farm Bureau above and beyond the essential support of being a member knows that Farm Bureau has historically been looked upon to be the voice of agriculture as a general farm organization. MORE

Two Rock Elementary Teaches the Importance of Agriculture

Teachers Pat Godoski, left, and Jan Brogan have taken over the garden and are developing curriculum that teaches students about agriculture.MORE

Renewable Energy for a Cleaner Future

Nathan Kinsey, Sonoma Clean Power’s Account Executive outside their office in Downtown Santa Rosa.MORE

Spicy Thai Vegetable Soup

There’s no better way to start off your new year's resolution to eat healthier than with this spicy, hearty soup. We added root vegetables like parsnips and carrots that are in season this time of year, and they have a lot of surprising health benefits. Due to being the root of the plant, they store many vitamins, antioxidants, and are a great source of fiber. MORE

Steve Reese Honored with Spirit of Sonoma Award

Steve Reese was honored with the Spirit of Sonoma County Award. Susan Gorin presented the awardMORE

Bamboo Sourcery: Sonoma County’s Hidden Garden

West of Sebastopol is a seven and a half acre piece of property on a very steep slope. But the crop growing on the hillside of an old quarry isn’t what you’d expect. Jennifer York and her husband, Joe Ruffatto, are growing bamboo. The business started in the late 70’s when York’s father, Gerald Bol, started collecting bamboo plants as a hobby. MORE

Deadline for Farm Bureau Foundation Scholarship Applications is April 8

This year the Farm Bureau Foundation will award more than $71,000 in scholarships to Sonoma County students pursuing higher education at a four year college, junior college or vocational school within an agricultural related field.MORE

Groundwater Research & Legislation

While most Californians have understood for some time the need to manage the drawdown of surface water few have understood the same sustainable principles regarding the extraction of groundwater also hold true. Historically, groundwater management in California was not a difficult task, but demands from drought and modern pressures underscore the need to improve how we manage our groundwater reserves.MORE

Agriculture Education – Making a Connection

As you read this month’s Farm News, we are wrapping up the 27th Annual Great Sonoma Crab and Wine Fest. Hopefully, you secured your seat at a table on the afternoon and evening of February 6th! I have been reminded several times since arriving early last fall about the attraction and importance of this event, and I am looking forward to seeing many of you. MORE

On Farm Pickup From a Nontraditional Farming Couple

Seth and Sarah James are a husband and wife team who run Open Field Farm in Petaluma. If you didn’t know their story, it would be hard to determine they didn’t have an agriculture background. Seth is from New York and Sarah is from the Bay Area, neither of them grew up onMORE

Jackson Family Wines Chooses Farm Bureau Premium Membership

Katie Jackson is a second generation winegrower and the Vice President of External Affairs and Sustainability for Jackson Family Wines (JFW). Her father and mother, Jess Jackson and Barbara Banke, founded the family wine business in 1982.MORE

Valentine Spritz Cookies

These Spritz cookies are tiny little hearts with big flavor. Spritz cookies are traditionally made during the winter holidays as a splurge but we have transformed them into our Valentine treats. For Spritz cookies the dough is put into a cookie press and different shapes can be easily made. MORE

‘Life lessons’ on the ranch shape woman’s policy career

Andrea Krout grew up on a Sonoma County ranch. Her interest in preserving open space and maintaining opportunities for young farmers propelled her into politics, and she now works as district director for a county supervisor.MORE

Winegrowers Present Survey on Impressions of the Wine Industry

At their annual Dollars and Sense seminar on January 14th, the Sonoma County Winegrowers presented a survey on the impressions of the wine industry in Sonoma County. The survey, commissioned by the winegrowers, was conducted by FM3, a public opinion and research strategy firm. FM3 conducted 401 telephone interviews with registered voters in Sonoma County between July 24 – 30, 2015. The margin of sampling error was 4.9%.MORE

More Than 1,500 Attend Sold Out Crab Feed

Sonoma County Farm Bureau’s 27th annual crab feed sold out with more than two weeks to go to until the event. Benefitting agricultural education, more than 1,500 people attended the event on February 6 at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. The Great Sonoma Crab and Wine Fest started with a local food and wine reception before moving into dinner and later the program.MORE

Deadline for Farm Bureau Foundation Scholarship Applications is April 8

This year the Farm Bureau Foundation will award more than $71,000 in scholarships to Sonoma County students pursuing higher education at a four year college, junior college or vocational school within an agricultural related field.MORE

The Uncertain Future of Water

Sonoma County Farm Bureau recently concluded our Great Sonoma Crab and Wine Fest. It was another huge success with a record crowd. Hats off to the entire staff of SCFB to their success and hard work to put such a large event on. As many of you know the local crab season has been a complete disaster for our local fishing industry.MORE

Is All Farming Good?

What an amazing place Sonoma County is, and we are fortunate enough to be able to it call home. We are blessed with a Mediterranean micro climate allowing local agriculture to produce an abundance and diversity of fresh food, in some cases nearly all year. This is certainly a treasured asset we have inherited and from which we will continue to derive benefits. MORE

Sonoma County Farm Bureau Water Committee Met to Discuss Medical Marijuana Cultivation & Regulation

Sonoma County Farm Bureau’s Water Committee met to discuss impending regulations on Medical Marijuana (AB 243, AB 266 and SB 643). The new state law now mandates that each county develop and adopt ordinances for licensing and land use.MORE

Bevill Vineyard Management Supports Sonoma County Agriculture

Duff Bevill, founder of Bevill Vineyard Management (BVM), moved to Sonoma County in 1973. He grew up in Southern California, right outside the Los Angeles city line in a newly developed suburb that had previously been prime farmland.MORE

Nutty Tacos

These tacos may be one of the best recipes for fooling your taste buds! It pretty much breaks the laws of tasting physics, because we transform raw walnuts into… taco meat! The walnuts are covered in spices so they taste and resemble ground beef. MORE

Geyserville Tractor Supply Brings Equipment & Parts Back to Northern Sonoma County

Geyserville Tractor Supply opened in April 2015, close to one year ago. It is operated by Terry and Justin Fischer, a father son team who have more than 44 years of combined experience.MORE

36th Annual Ag Days Gets Students Up-Close and Personal with Agriculture

More than 5,700 people attended Ag Days, including 4,200 elementary age children. Ag Days, a two day event in March put on the Sonoma County Farm Bureau, brought the farm to children as they flocked to the Sonoma County Fairgrounds to see agriculture in action, up close and personal. MORE

Duckhorn Wine Company, a Napa-based Winery, Is Making an Impression on Sonoma County

Duckhorn Wine Company was founded by Dan and Margaret Duckhorn in 1976. Their first vintage in 1978 focused on single varietal wines, specifically Merlot and Cabernet.MORE

Homelessness and Water Quality

It’s time for me to write another article about water. The good news is this month as I write this we have a full soil moisture profile and everything is well saturated. We are in great position going into spring when it comes to having water to grow crops and water livestock. It’s a big improvement over the last couple years, so things are looking up. The water issue I get to rant about this month is water quality.MORE

Farm Bureau Supports Sonoma County Agriculture

Agriculture education and public policy are two of the primary purposes of why members support the work of Farm Bureau in Sonoma County. These topics range from our local Ag Days held in March to working on forming ag friendly legislation around the county. Sonoma County Farm Bureau’s Ag Days are a great example of the commitment of our agriculture community banding together to share the story of farming and ranching as well as educating teachers, parents and students about the original source of their food and fiber. MORE

Dragonfly Farm: A Healdsburg Mainstay for 26 Years

Dora Brandau, Bonnie Z, Margi Getzloff and Carlisle Degischer of Dragonfly Floral. Brandau and Getzloff started out as a shopgirl and delivery driver, but are now both talented floral designers at Dragonfly Floral.MORE

Ag Days 2016 Class and Awards Dinner Photos

Did your student or class attend Ag Days? Take the opportunity to preview photos of both the Ag Days Photo booth and the Ag Days Awards Dinner. All photos are available for free download from Sonoma County Farm Bureau.MORE

Springtime Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad

Try this delicious Springtime Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad for your next garden party lunch. The fresh tomatoes along with the crunch of the cucumber pairs nicely with the light and bright vinaigrette making this dish an instant favorite.MORE

Young Farmers and Rancher Sporting Clays Shoot – Sold Out

Sonoma-Marin Young Farmers and Ranchers have sold their last entry in the Sporting Clays shoot for 2016, however Sponsorships are still available for the event. Click on the link below and make a purchase to support the committees efforts. 100% of the proceeds from the event go to the Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee.MORE

Hughes Dairy Focuses on Cattle Health and Land Management

Richard Hughes is a first generation dairy farmer. It’s not something you often hear, most Sonoma County dairy farmers are several generations in.MORE

Image Tree Service, Stemmed from a Young Man’s Dream, Is Now a Successful and Bountiful Company

Jeff Kowell, owner of Image Tree Service, set his sights on being an arborist and starting his own company when he was a charismatic, determined and hardworking 24 year old. Working for a myriad of local tree service companies, he traveled from one to the next with hopes of gleaning all the experience and information he could.MORE

Minimum Wage and Ag Overtime Bills

By now I am sure you have all heard of CA SB 3, the minimum wage bill signed by Governor Brown that raises the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2022. This date is delayed by employers of 25 people or fewer until 2023. It also builds in annual cost of living increases starting in 2024. That is not the only bill working its way through the State Legislature, more on that later.MORE

Finding Your Voice

Are you one of the millions of viewers who recently experienced the final season of the television program American Idol? If you are not, each year for the past fifteen years anyone who believed they could perform well vocally could show up and audition at various cities across the country to hopefully be selected as a contestant.MORE

Premium Members Gather to Discuss Sonoma County Agriculture

On April 20th, Sonoma County Farm Bureau’s Premium Members gathered at Francis Ford Coppola Winery for a luncheon. More than 40 top agricultural leaders in Sonoma County gathered near the pool with sweeping views of Geyserville and Alexander Valley on a sunny and 75° day.MORE

Maddie Hansen Takes Home Top Talent Award in Miss Sonoma County Pageant

Maddie Hansen is an 18 year old senior at Santa Rosa High School. Hansen, who has an agriculture background, recently competed in the Miss Sonoma County PageMORE

Ribboned Beet and Carrot Salad with Quick Pickled Red Onion and Jicama

It has been such a beautiful spring in the north bay! We’ve been having the perfect combination of rain and shine; plus, some of our favorite vegetables are finally coming into season. Inspired by what’s fresh at the farmers market, we set out to make a colorful salad that is perfect for spring.MORE

Farming for the Future

Sonoma County’s agricultural diversity and stewardship is the direct result of the hard work of farmers, ranchers and the agricultural organizations. This publication showcases six landowners who through their conservation practices have fostered greater levels of sustainability.MORE

Six Generations of Agriculture

Like many multigenerational farming families, the Mauritson Family’s story starts nearly 150 years ago with the great great grandfather of Thom Mauritson. Sven Parker Hallengren, known as SP, emigrated from Sweden, landing at Ellis Island in New York before coming west. SP settled in the Dry Creek Valley raising sheep, growing grapes and making wine to ship back to Sweden. For the next 100 years, the family continued on, but everything changed in 1968. MORE

SCFB Opposes Transgenic Contamination Prevention Ordinance

On May 24, Farm Bureau Directors Norm Yenni, Tito Sasaki, Steve Dutton and Jeff Carlton testified at the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors meeting to advocate for the Supervisors putting the GMO legislation on the ballot instead of adopting it outright. The Supervisors voted 5-0 to place it on the November ballot despite testimony from the anti-GMO group asking them to adopt it and not allowing the voters to have a say.MORE

SCFB at Work in Sonoma County

So as you read this, I am three quarters of the way through my term as County President. For any of you that do not know what the term is, it is a maximum of two one year terms. It has been an exciting experience and with harvest, holidays and all the activities in the fall, it’s going to be over before I know it. That said, we are tackling some major issues, as always. There never seems to be a dull moment at Farm Bureau, and I wanted to update you with a list of what we are up to.MORE

Burgess Lumber: 45 Years of Commitment to Sonoma County Lumber Industry

Orin Burgess started Burgess Lumber in 1972 with his brother, Lee. Originally from Trinity County, the pair began selling mobile home set-up materials in Santa Rosa before transitioning to a retail lumber business in the early 80’s.MORE

Rochioli Vineyards and Winery: Award Winning Wines and a Long Sonoma County History

Rochioli Vineyards and Winery is a family run business operated by a father and son team. At 82, Joe Rochioli still gets up every morning and heads to the field to give his workers instructions. Joe’s son Tom has become the principal winemaker and together they are producing top notch award winning wines.MORE

Farm Bureau Foundation Awards More Than $135,000 in Scholarships to Students Studying Agriculture in Sonoma and Marin Counties

Farm Bureau Foundation Awards More Than $135,000 in Scholarships to Students Studying Agriculture in Sonoma and Marin CountiesMORE

Easy Chilled Red Pepper Soup

Time for chilled soup and this one is a great starter for any BBQ this summer. The almond milk and toasted almonds on top add a nutty flavor to the sweetness of the peppers. Easy to prepare and you can make it up to 2 days ahead. Makes 4 cups of soup.MORE

Tim Tesconi Inducted Into Farm Bureau Hall of Fame

Throughout Sonoma County and beyond, Tim Tesconi is a common name in agricultural households. Many know Tesconi through the last 10 years he spent serving as community relations coordinator and then executive director of Sonoma County Farm Bureau, and many more know him through his 33 year career writing about North Bay agriculture for The Press Democrat.MORE

Finding Your Voice: Advocacy

Event planning, assisting members, agricultural and continuing education, communicating information and policy advocacy are the largest time occupiers for the staff of your organization. With the dedicated support of your volunteer leaders and committee members your Farm Bureau team remains engaged on several fronts. MORE

Glyphosate

In recent discussions with different people at the County of Sonoma, it sounds like there is some concern about the county’s use of glyphosate (Round-up) as part of its roadside weed control program. It seems recently the glyphosate has been under more attack than ever as a potential carcinogen and there has been lots of bad press around that.MORE

Cheri and Phil Marcucci Create Documentary on Family History and Sonoma County Agriculture

Both Cheri and Phil Marcucci come from agricultural families. They were married in 1965 and purchased Phil’s family’s property from his grandparents in 1973. Phil’s family originally grew grapes before the prohibition era and later switched to apples. Cheri also came from a family that grew apples.MORE

Michelle McClure Hired As Membership Development and Advertising Coordinator

Michelle McClure, a member of the dairy family from Inverness, has been hired as Sonoma County Farm Bureau’s Membership Development and Advertising Coordinator. McClure is a recent graduate of Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and a past intern of Sonoma County Farm Bureau.MORE

Syar Industries and Their Presence in the Sonoma County Agriculture Industry

Syar Industries was started in 1937 by CM (Tony) Syar. Now owned by his sons Jim and Denton Syar, the aggregate business has operations in ten counties throughout Northern California. Although their primary business is providing aggregate materials, Syar is also heavily involved in the agriculture industry.MORE

Grilled Apricot and Ricotta Appetizer

We were inspired to make these after picking bags full of perfectly ripe apricots at our Grandmas. These are great to make as a starter for any outside BBQ because they’re incredibly easy (and fun!) to make. When choosing apricots, they should be completely peach colored but not too soft as they need to stand up to the grill. We hope you enjoy!MORE

Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue Educates the Community about Predator Prevention

The Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue (SCWR) was established in 1981 by a group of women concerned about the welfare of wildlife in Sonoma County. They hired their first staff member, Executive Director Doris Duncan, in 2000 and have continued to grow since.MORE

Love of the Land honors Stewards of the Land

More than 1,000 people gathered at Saralee’s Grove and Richard’s Vineyard in Windsor on July 15th to honor stewards of the land at Sonoma County Farm Bureau’s annual Love of the Land. The event started at 4 p.m. with a Sonoma Grown Reception. Vendors offered award winning wines from throughout Sonoma County as well as food prepared by local chefs.MORE

Food Security

If you are paying attention to what topics are important lately, of course, there are the most recently completed national party conventions and the accompanying policy platforms that will be debated over the next three months. In November, we will elect a President and Congress who will guide our national and domestic interests into the future. In all of this election activity though, there has been little attention focused on the importance of agriculture in our society and its contribution to our national security. MORE

Giving Voice of the Citizen Farmer

Not too far in our distant past the majority of American citizens understood their reliance on agriculture. Indeed, for the majority of our history, urban dwellers and rural communities alike felt an intimate connection with the land.MORE

Julie and Tom Atwood: Protecting the Future of Sonoma County Agriculture

Julie and Tom Atwood are the owners of the Atwood Ranch, a 70 acre parcel of land in Glen Ellen. Twenty of those 70 acres are planted with wine grapes. Additionally, on the property the Atwoods have five horses, a few cattle, and many acres of open and riparian corridor space. MORE

Hagemann Ranch Trout Farm, A family Fishing Tradition

Pam Hagemann has always had a passion for fishing. As a child, she remembers her grandparents taking her to hatcheries and fishing out of the back seat of their Cadillac. Growing up, Hagemann often went fishing at her family’s cabin near Shasta, where her grandmother once caught a record breaking fish. MORE

Sonoma County Fair Lamb Auction Breaks Records

The lamb auction broke records at the Sonoma County Fair on July 24th as the top selling lamb brought $80/lb. The Reserve Champion Black Lamb sold eighth in the sale and was exhibited by Karina Lochner. The previous record was set by Laurin Murnin of Live Oak 4-H in 2012 when her lamb was purchased for $55/lb by G&G Market. MORE

Fresh Corn and Tomato Salad

There is so much fresh and delicious corn out there right now, and this salad takes full advantage of that! We love to serve this at a barbeque or bring it as a side dish to any sort of outdoor party. Plus, its great warm, or cold!MORE

Saralee and Richard’s Barn at the Fairgrounds

Great news, after breaking ground in September, 2015, the Saralee and Richard's Barn was dedicated on July 21st prior to the opening of this year's Sonoma County Fair! When Saralee Kunde was the President of the Sonoma County Fair Board of Directors in 2012, she created the Sonoma County Fair Foundation.MORE

Long Horns and Lean Beef

Eight years ago David and Kristine Beck took a family vacation to the Grand Canyon where David saw a large set of horns in a bar. The horns continued to come up in conversation as something that would be great to have over their mantel, and Kristine describes David as having had “horn envy.” When they got back, Kristine looked into buying a set of horns for her husband, but shipping such a large package proved difficultMORE

Measure M Is Back…Still Bad Policy

I am confident that many civic-minded citizens are aware that election season is now building toward November 8, the last day to participate. Labor Day is the traditional day that campaigns begin to increase their activity to gain support for a candidate or a cause. California is one of 26 states, 18 of which lie west of the Mississippi River, that also allow for initiative rights for their citizens. MORE

Marijuana and Its Effect on Ag

It’s that time of year again for many of us to start ramping up for harvest and working toward bringing in our crops. For many people it will be just another day as the cows will still need milking and eggs still need collecting from our chickens. But for those of us with grapes, apples, and other annual and perennial crops it’s that short period of time that all of the work we have done all year comes to a head, and we find whether mother-nature will let us be profitable or not. One of those crops will now be marijuana.MORE

102 Awards Presented at Awards Dinner

Farm Bureau Foundation of Sonoma County and Sonoma County Fair hosted the Awards Dinner on August 5, 2016. More than 700 exhibitors, parents, teachers and club leaders attended the event. One-hundred and two awards were presented to fair livestock exhibitors showing both breeding and market projects. MORE

Joe Judge and Giving Back to the Community

Joe Judge and his wife Gail live in Bennett Valley where they have 10 acres of grapes and raise beef for their consumption. Judge is the current President of the Bennett Valley Grape Growers and a past commissioner for the Sonoma County Winegrowers. He works for Wells Fargo Advisors as the Senior Vice President, joking that he spends ¾ of his time there and ½ of his time working in his vineyard. MORE

Kale Caesar Salad

We love Caesar Salad and using baby kale instead of Romaine gives it a boost of healthy nutrients. We also like to toss any leftover dressing with grilled vegetables. Kale is one of the healthiest vegetables around and with this exciting recipe you will find a great new way to incorporate it into your diet!MORE

Life on the Farm at the Gravenstein Apple Fair

The Gravenstein Apple Fair was held on the second weekend in August drawing an estimated 15,000 guests – 7,000 on Saturday and 8,000 on Sunday. The Apple Fair, started in 1910, is produced by Sonoma County Farm Trails and held at Ragle Ranch Park in Sebastopol.MORE

Novavine Grapevine Nursery Grows More Than Six Million Vines Per Year

Novavine is a leading provider of young grapevines, grafting more than 6.5 million vines a year. Novavine also sold more than 50,000 olive trees in the last year. The grapevine nursery was founded by Milton and Ellen Heath in 1996 and incorporated in 1997.MORE

Santa Rosa Junior College Ag Department Hires Two Professors

The Santa Rosa Junior College Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources will begin the fall semester with new full-time professors/program coordinators. Joel Grogan will be filling an Environmental Horticulture position formerly held by PJ LoCoco who retired in December 2015. Amy Housman will be filling an Animal Science position which has been vacant for three years.MORE

Foggy River Farm: Sharing Agriculture with the Community

Foggy River Farm, a CSA in the Russian River Valley, is the culmination of one couple’s dream to be self-sustaining and share what it’s like to grow food with other people. Emmett and Lynda Hopkins are the owners of Foggy River Farm, a CSA (community supported agriculture) they have been building since 2009. Emmett grew up on the Russian River Valley property outside of Healdsburg which has been in his family for three generations.MORE

I Farm, I Ranch, I Vote

Well everyone…it is decision time again. In a little more than a month from now the election season will have been completed for another two years. Do I hear some cheering? Hopefully, everyone will exercise their right as United States citizens and either show up on November 8th at the polls or have returned their vote by mail ballot. A request for a vote by mail ballot needs to be received by the county by the November 1st deadline. Either way, please be a part of the process as I am sure someone elder in your family most likely has offered, “If you do not vote, you have no reason to complain.”MORE

Sonoma County Farm Bureau Opposes Measure M

Measure M is an unnecessary, poorly drafted measure that won’t do anything to benefit Sonoma County residents or make our food safer. Instead, by creating an arbitrary ban only in our county, Measure M will hurt local family farmers and ranchers, jeopardize our local economy that depends heavily on agriculture, and cost tens to hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars in new bureaucracy and red tape to implement. Please vote no. MORE

George Petersen Insurance Agency: Supporting Sonoma County Agriculture

George Petersen Insurance Agency was founded in 1935 and opened their Sonoma County offices in 1975. George Petersen Insurance is one of the largest independently owned insurance agencies in Northern California and is committed to offering quality insurance in Sonoma County and beyond. MORE

YF&R “Field of Dreams” Meeting at Balletto Vineyards & Winery in Santa Rosa

The September Monthly meeting for Sonoma-Marin Young Farmers and Ranchers was a very successful turnout where Balletto Vineyards & Winery in Santa Rosa hosted us. Hidden behind the crush pad was our meeting location for a casual game of slow-pitch softball at the Balletto’s baseball diamond – The Field of Dreams. MORE

Pumpkin Pepita Muffins

Fall is finally here, and it’s our all-time favorite season! The leaves are turning, the weather is getting chilly, and the mornings are especially foggy (and beautiful!). Not to mention, your favorite pumpkin themed treats are showing up everywhere! We wanted to add to the fun by creating these delicious and easy to make muffins.MORE

Meet Sonoma County’s Newest FFA Advisors and Agriculture Instructors

As the 2016 school year begins, Sonoma County has five new agriculture instructors. Two of the FFA advisors are continuing their careers having previously taught at Sonoma County schools, two advisors are new to teaching bringing professional experience from the Sonoma County agriculture industry and one advisor from the Central Valley will begin his first year teaching in Sonoma County. MORE

Ettamarie Peterson Sonoma County Bee Queen

When Ettamarie Peterson was growing up, she never dreamed she’d be living on a farm with cows, horses and bees. As a city girl living in downtown Sacramento, she just wanted to become a school teacher. Peterson did become a school teacher, and 18 years ago she retired from a 37 year career teaching.MORE

Technology and Farming: How One Tech CEO’s Passion for Sonoma County Land Bloomed into Award Winning Olive Oil

Ridgely Evers was born in Cleveland, Ohio and moved to Palo Alto, Calif. as a teenager. He has spent the last 49 years writing code in the Silicon Valley, often known as “the guy who created QuickBooks”. Now, Evers is also the driving force behind DaVero, known around the world for their high-quality olive oil and Italian wines. MORE

Impacting Community

One year ago in October I began serving as Executive Director for Sonoma County Farm Bureau. At that time I could never have imagined what was in store for the next year. Now looking back over the past twelve months and absorbing everything that has occurred in my professional and personal life, I am convinced there is a higher power in control leading all of us to opportunities and equipping us to face challenges that accompany our decisions and actions. I am thankful for all of the support that I have received from the exceptional staff and leadership of this organization.MORE

New Home for Farm Bureau

It is with great excitement that I can say Farm Bureau is has found a new home. It has taken years of discussion and research but we are proud to say we will be moving our offices to 3589 Westwind Boulevard near the Sonoma County Airport. I want to thank everyone for all of the effort that went into researching our office options and who have helped to lay the path for the future of the Sonoma County Farm Bureau.MORE

Sonoma County Farm Bureau Opposes Measure M

Measure M is an unnecessary, poorly drafted measure that won’t do anything to benefit Sonoma County residents or make our food safer. Instead, by creating an arbitrary ban only in our county, Measure M will hurt local family farmers and ranchers, jeopardize our local economy that depends heavily on agriculture, and cost tens to hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars in new bureaucracy and red tape to implement. Please vote no. MORE

LeBallister’s: A Family Owned Seed and Fertilizer Company with More Than 50 Years of Experience

During LeBallister’s Seed and Fertilizer’s busy time of the year, customers can find three generations working for the family-run business. The business is primarily managed by Kelly Boyer with help from her father Tom Hendrickson who started the business. Tom has taken a step back from the day to day operations especially during the off-season. Kelly’s son Nathan also helps out with the family business part-time between his college classes. MORE

Butternut Squash Soup

This butternut squash soup is our first course at Thanks Giving dinner and it’s always a big hit but is just as yummy all winter long. We roast the squash the day before to save time and it’s ready to chop and add to the soup. Tip: Roasting the squash whole makes it much easier to peel and seed.MORE

Impact of Grazing on Endangered Species

Through the 1980’s, 1990’s, and into the early 2000’s, efforts to conserve threatened and endangered (special status) species on western rangelands often meant removing livestock ranching. Research findings, demonstration results, and failed conservation efforts in recent years involving endangered species have supported the continuation of livestock ranching and the reintroduction of grazing to some rangelands that were “protected” through grazing removal.MORE

From High School Project to Full Time Business, Anthony Bordessa Now Has More Than 3,700 Ducks

Anthony Bordessa has 3,700 ducks. At 23 years old, he is the owner of the Washoe Valley Duck Farm, a company selling duck eggs throughout the Bay Area. Bordessa’s interest in the poultry industry began in 2009 while he was working for the McIsaac Dairy. It was the summer of his junior year in high school, and the McIsaac’s were raising chickens alongside their dairy cattle. MORE

Was Rural America Angry?

It has been very interesting to read about, watch and listen to events as they unfolded regarding the results from last month’s Election Day. It has also been both somewhat understandable and equally disheartening to witness the level of unrest that accompanied the presidential results, but as anyone who has participated in the political system knows, elections tend to bring out the extreme differing positions on both ends of the political spectrum.MORE

A Farewell Thank You

I can’t believe 2 years has already gone by as Farm Bureau president. I’m not sure if time just flies by or if there have been so many issues thrown at us recently that it just exacerbates the feeling. Either way, the time has flown by and this is my last Farm News article. I wasn’t sure what I would write this article about as there are so many issues to write about and so many people to thank, but I really think the most important thing right now is the future of Farm Bureau and how that will affect our voice to protect our property rights and ability to farm. MORE

Centenarian Fred Bollinger Honored by Sonoma County Farm Bureau

On Wednesday, October 12th 2016, Fred Bollinger celebrated a milestone day. Bollinger turned 100 years old, officially able to take on the title of centenarian. Bollinger has lived in Sebastopol his entire life spending the majority of his life on a farm three miles from the city’s center. Bollinger’s great grandfather emigrated from Switzerland in the 1800’s and settled in Kansas. Bollinger’s father, David King, moved to California in the late 1800’s. MORE

Sonoma County Airport Express: Supporting the Community and Agriculture

Sonoma County Airport Express is a fleet of 21 buses shuttling passengers between Sonoma County and San Francisco and Oakland Airports. The company was started in 1980, originally carrying passengers to and from SFO in vans and minibuses. The company expanded to service Oakland Airport in the late 90’s and now has nine trips to OAK every day of the year and an additional 19 to SFO. MORE

Cooley Ranch: 19,000 Acre Ag Preserve Adjacent to Lake Sonoma is Farm Bureau’s Newest Premium Member

Cooley Ranch is a 19,000 acre property in northern Sonoma County extending from the headwaters of Lake Sonoma to Southern Mendocino County. The property was protected by an easement with the Sonoma County Open Space District in 2001, but it is still privately held by the Cooley Family. MORE

Braised Beef with Sweet Potatoes, Lady Apples and Cranberries

The weather has started getting a little chilly, and now is the time when we start dreaming about all of our favorite warm and hearty holiday meals. Instead of making the same old thing, we wanted to truly call in all of the flavors of the season into one dish. This savory and tangy braised beef is the perfect thing to heat you up on a cold winter's night. MORE

John Azevedo Takes the Reins as President of Sonoma County Farm Bureau

John Azevedo, a fourth generation Sonoma County rancher who is the director of grower relations at Jackson Family Wines based in Santa Rosa, is the new president of Sonoma County Farm Bureau, the county’s oldest, largest and most influential agricultural organization.MORE

Range to Table: Local Beef

About 350 cattle call the Oak Ridge Angus ranch in Calistoga. home. They graze the pastures that have been in the LaFranchi family since 1912. It is fitting that a place with so much history is also home to history in the making. Here cattle roam with a life-changing purpose: to feed low-income families in Sonoma County.MORE

Celebrating Bruce Campbell

Longtime Sheep Rancher and Agriculture Leader Died Dec. 1MORE

Changes and Challenges

I am proud to introduce myself as the new president of Sonoma County Farm Bureau. Fifteen years ago my friend and neighbor John Bucher got me involved. I joined the board and never expected that I would eventually be elected to the presidency. I have seen a lot of changes in our County and at the Farm Bureau over the years, but I believe the best years are still ahead of us.MORE

Thank You Tito!

Sonoma Valley grape grower Tito Sasaki, a remarkable, one-of-a-kind leader, has completed a whirlwind two-year term as president of Sonoma County Farm Bureau, the county’s largest and most influential agricultural organization. Tito is taking a deep breath after spending the last 730 days being the face, eyes and ears of Farm Bureau, volunteering his time to do what’s right for the organization. MORE

Rodney Strong Vineyards Sign on as Premium Farm Bureau Member

A passion for Sonoma County wines and preserving agriculture drives Rodney Strong’s team and Farm Bureau membershipMORE

2015 YF&R Leadership Team

At the Final meeting of the YF&R for 2014 the year-end report was given and officer elections were held. This was a very exciting time for all as over 20 members were nominated for leadership positions. The final tallies were counted and reported for the 2015 Officer Team for the Sonoma-Marin Young Farmers & Ranchers MORE

Chicken & Mushroom Stew

There are certain foods that you will never forget…one of mine is my Aunt Betty’s dumplings! I remember going to the ‘Hunting Ranch’ during deer season…I’ve never really been a hunter, but I’ve always loved food and my aunt’s dumplings were a favorite of mine. MORE

New Seminars and Trainings

New classes have been added to the ongoing series seminars, trainings and workshops for agricultural and related industries. Held at the Sonoma County Farm Bureau the classes range in topic from CPR to Foreman Management Training and much more. MORE

Petaluma’s Circle Oak Ranch, Riding High on Equine Rehabilitation

Ron Malone was given his first horse when he was twelve and while his interest in horses never waned, it wasn’t until the early eighties when he was 35 that he started riding every day, revitalizing body and spirit in the most natural way. As a high-profile lawyer living in Piedmont, riding a horse wasn’t the most practical or convenient way to unwind after a contentious day in court. MORE

Going, Going Gone

Fair auctioneer Louie Ricci, one of Sonoma County’s agricultural icons, died in the last weeks of 2014, adding to last year’s loss of legendary leaders in farming, ranching and the Sonoma County Fair. Louie, a respected judge of man and beast, was a folk hero to those of us who grew up in Sonoma County and spent part of the summer learning lessons for life in the barns and show rings at the Sonoma County Fair.MORE

We Heart Cooking

Lilly and Audrey Andrews, known as the Twin Chefs throughout Sonoma County and beyond, have turned their passion for cooking into most people’s dream by the age of 13. The twins recently published their first cookbook and completed a book tour across the country.MORE

Horse Owners Love Your Neighbor

Love your neighbor sounds good, but when one has a neighbor who complains to Sonoma County PRMD (Permit & Resource Management Department), Fish & Wildlife, or Regional Water Quality it is sometimes hard to think “Love”. The complaining citizen now knows how to get the different agencies’ attention. I’m sure you have heard these before: too much dust, flies, smells, and manure issues.MORE

Simple Celery Soup with Chimichurri Sauce

If you love celery as much as I do, you are going to love this simple soup. The recipe was born after my holiday ravioli making. You see, I only use the celery leaves in my ravioli recipe. I’m left with an overabundance of celery…its soup season and I’m on a health kick…sooooo, here ya go. P.S. My husband loves it too.MORE

Sonoma County Farm Bureau Hosts Successful Great Sonoma Crab and Wine Fest

As 1,400 guests walked through the doors of the Grace Pavilion at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, they were greeted with a four foot maroon anchor made of balloons encompassed with a gold chain, a room full of lit up trees and dozens of award winning food and wine vendors ready to fill glasses and pass out samples. MORE

One Long Rollercoaster Ride: The Feed Store Reopens in Sebastopol’s Historic Frizelle Enos Building

When Stacey and Tony Renati stood watching the Frizelle Enos feed store go up in flames what stood out was the overwhelming community support: the whole town seemed to be hugging and crying over the place the Renatis had worked for the last 15 years. That was the moment the Renatis understood what the store meant to the community and knew they needed to reopen it. MORE

Russian River Frost Protection

Now is the time of year when the farm teams takes note of the first signs of renewed life in the vineyard – budbreak. Largely due to the lack of rain, this milestone is making an early appearance this year. This event for Sonoma County grapegrowers is also a reminder that it is time to begin monitoring water use during frost events and reporting that activity by submitting a Water Demand Management Program (WDMP) to the State Water Resources Control Board.MORE

Connecting Kids and Ag

For those of us who grew up on a farm, it’s hard to imagine that a third grade kid in Sonoma County has never touched the fuzzy hairs on a piglet’s snout or heard the peep of a baby chick. These are experiences essential for any kid, particularly, one living in agriculture rich Sonoma County where farms and ranches shape the working landscape and propel the economy. But these days, urban kids, several generations removed from the farm and living in suburban Santa Rosa or Rohnert Park, have no grounding when it comes to cows and sows.MORE

Committed to Community, Balletto Vineyards Joins as Premium Farm Bureau Member

"Our philosophy is growing a business that benefits our employees and the community,” said John Balletto, owner of the award winning Balletto Vineyards. Motivated by his commitment to community, Balletto recently signed on as a Premium Farm Bureau Member. Balletto feels that the $1,000 membership level is an insignificant cost relative to the benefits the agriculture community receives from the work the Farm Bureau does. MORE

16th Annual Sonoma County Pruning Championship

“Uno! Dos! Vamanos!” said Ray Sanchez to the eight finalists competing for a coveted champion title. Sanchez served as Master of Ceremonies at the 16th annual Sonoma County Pruning Championship held at Shone Farm on February 13th. The contest was put on by the Sonoma County Winegrowers and started with 47 registered competitors who were broken into four heats of 11-12 pruners.MORE

Johnny Walker’s Fantasy

Honestly, what’s Butterscotch pudding without the Scotch?! This is my own creation of Butterscotch Pudding layered with Scotch infused Mousse and sprinkled with Smoked Almonds. The Smoked Almonds not only add texture, but that hint of saltiness that just…well, FaNtAsiZe for a moment. This will make 9-½ cup servings. Note: I like to use the cute little 4 oz. jars.MORE

Farm Bureau Foundation of Sonoma County 2015 Scholarship Applications

Farm Bureau Foundation of Sonoma County will award more than $60,000 in scholarships this year to deserving students studying agriculture or an agricultural-related field at a four year college, junior college or vocational school. The Farm Bureau Foundation’s mission is to encourage – and financially assist – young people for rewarding careers in agriculture or a closely related agricultural field including the farm-to-table culinary arts.MORE

More than 4,500 Students Attend Ag Days

More than 4,500 students in Kindergarten through 6th grade attended Ag Days at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds on March 17th and 18th. This event combines more than 30 exhibitors who donate their time to educate today’s students about agriculture. Ranging from live chickens, calves to pet and horse demonstrations to information about milk, soil, power and healthy living, every aspect of Sonoma County agriculture was represented. MORE

Bee Friendly: Singing Frogs Farm Your Local No-Till CSA

It’s clear Paul and Elizabeth Kaiser love what they do. Paul pulls weeds as he talks about his no-till farming practices and his wife Elizabeth wipes dirt off their five-year-old daughter Anna’s face. Their son, Lucas, 7, produces a plant to show his family before running back toward the row crops. MORE

Russian River Frost Protection

In September of 2014, Governor Brown signed legislation mandating that local agencies, across the State of California, create Sustainable Groundwater Management Plans. How did this happen? Well, all the wishing, hoping and even praying by farmers wasn’t enough to gather the storm clouds needed to end California’s four-year drought.MORE

Growing Farms and Farmers

Lynn Steindorf Esposti of Healdsburg knows the pitfalls of farming but says the urge to farm is in her DNA, compelling her to grow crops and livestock against all the odds. After all, Lynn’s ancestors have farmed for at least eight generations in Europe, California and here in Sonoma County where she grew up raising hogs as a 4-H Club member in Healdsburg. Farming is something she yearns to do too, even if it’s on a part-time basis, working around her full-time job as a business professional.MORE

Korbel Signs on as Farm Bureau’s Newest Premium Member

Started by three brothers in 1882, Korbel has been a locally owned family business for more than 130 years. The Heck family purchased the property from the Korbel Brothers in 1954, keeping the operation and ownership local. MORE

SMaSHeD Cauliflower & Spud Casserole

I’m not sure what I Luv most about this recipe…the fact that it comes together so easily and can be made ahead of time or that it tastes soooo delicious!!! This would make a great side dish for Easter dinner, pairing nicely with a Leg of Lamb or Easter Ham. MORE

Experienced Winemaker Steve Bell Establishes Campana Ranch Winery

Bell started his winery in 2011, but he wasn’t new to the wine industry. He’s been making wine since 1980 and has extensive experience in the industry. After working for Charles Krug and Freemark Abbey, Bell started as a Vineyard Manager for Beringer Vineyards in 1990 where he worked until 2009. Between 2009 and 2011, Bell was a private vineyard consultant, but this ended when he and his wife, Sher, made the decision to open their own winery. MORE

Harmony Farm Supply & Nursery, Growing Environmental Awareness

It could easily be called the Institution of Organic & Sustainable Farming & Gardening, a revered center of learning that upholds an environmental ethic while helping growers produce crops the natural way. But, of course, everyone knows it as Harmony Farm Supply & Nursery, the iconic farm and garden business on a leafy campus along Gravenstein Highway North in Sebastopol. MORE

Building Bridges: Paul Martin’s Service to the Agriculture Industry

From dairy farmer to Deputy Director for the governor, Paul Martin has done it all. Martin has been unsuccessful in retiring since 2012 with his first retirement lasting 53 days and his second in 2014 lasting 127 days. Martin’s failure to retire shows just how dedicated he is to the dairy industry and agriculture. MORE

Sonoma County Farm Bureau Hosts First Premium Member Luncheon

On Friday April 10th, 24 guests joined the Sonoma County Farm Bureau for a Premium Member luncheon at Dutton Lake. Guests mingled before lunch with Congressman Mike Thompson, California Farm Bureau Federation President Paul Wenger and Farm Bureau staff. MORE

Ag Event or Not?

The topic du jour right now in Sonoma County is around ag events and the county’s struggle to define what is and what is not an “ag event.” Most of the concerns are with events at wineries and tasting rooms. But the term ag event raises concerns for me about what this will mean for agricultural operations other than wineries and the repercussions on those farming enterprises. MORE

A Salute to Two Ag Heroes

It’s been a year since David Evans of Marin Sun Farms took over the Rancho slaughterhouse, transforming the closed-down operation into a high-quality slaughter and meat processing plant. Under Evans’ ownership, the old slaughter facility on Petaluma’s northern edge has been revived and refocused.MORE

Premium Membership: Kevin Barr Has Been Growing a Successful Business Since 1983

Kevin Barr started Redwood Empire Vineyard Management (REVM) in 1983. His wife, Linda joined him in 1991, and his partner, Tyler Klick joined them in 2006. He had the entrepreneurial spirit and knew he wanted to work in Sonoma County. Barr is a fourth generation Marin County resident while Linda is a fourth generation Sonoma County farmer and Tyler is a third generation Mendocino County resident. MORE

Premium Membership: Mark and Jenny Sanchietti Strive to Support Their Family and Employees

Sanchietti Farming Incorporated might sound like a large corporation, but in truth it’s a family run operation. Husband and wife duo, Mark and Jenny Sanchietti, are the sole owners of the business and on any given day you might find their two young children Mason and Meritt running around their office.MORE

Connie Jones is New District 3 Dairy Princess

18 year old Santa Rosan, Connie Jones was crowned District 3 Dairy Princess on Saturday, April 11, 2015 at the Petaluma Veterans Memorial Hall. The current senior at Petaluma High School will serve as the spokesperson for the Dairy Industry and represent local farmers and producers in Lake, Marin, Sonoma, Napa, Solano and Mendocino counties. MORE

Banana Wraps

I know the recipe title is all about Easter…but, I really wanted to share this recipe with you not only because I think it would be great for Brunch, it is also a spinoff of my highest scoring dessert from the www.WorldFoodChampionships.com.MORE

Andy’s Produce: Taking Care of their Community Because the Community Takes Care of Them

Andy’s Produce has been operating for more than 50 years. Off Gravenstein Highway in Sebastopol, many longtime residents have seen them grow from a small produce and fruit stand to a large diversified open air market.MORE

Sangiacomo Family, Passionate About Agriculture and Family

It would be hard to find a family that represents the phrase “family business” better than the Sangiacomos who own and manage Sangiacomo Family Vineyards in Sonoma. As third generation Sonoma County farmers, Steve, Mike and Mia have successfully taken over the family grape growing business from their father Angelo, Aunt Lorraine and Uncle Buck. Their goal? To pass on their love of farming and passion for the wine industry to one or more of their seven children, the fourth generation of Sangiacomos.MORE

Farm Bureau Foundation Awards $130,000 in Scholarships to Top Agriculture Students in Sonoma and Marin Counties

The Farm Bureau Foundation of Sonoma County has awarded more than $130,000 in scholarships to 36 agriculture students from Sonoma and Marin counties. It’s the largest scholarship pay-out since the Farm Bureau Foundation was established in 2006, reflecting the tremendous generosity of donors who want to support and develop the next generation of agricultural leaders.MORE

Goodbye, for now, to Sonoma Compost

It was an incredibly sad day for many of us when county officials closed down Sonoma Compost, an iconic, green business that has played a pivotal role in Sonoma County agriculture’s move to sustainable farming. Sonoma County would not be the internationally recognized leader in sustainable agriculture it is today if not for Sonoma Compost. MORE

Farm and Fish Survival

It is fair to say that just about everyone in Sonoma County, and indeed the State of California, has developed a heightened awareness about our water challenges. Water is so treasured and so essential that people in our County and across the State are quickly mobilizing to conserve this precious resource. From my perspective, agriculture in Sonoma County can, and must, play a key role in developing solutions for a sustainable water future.MORE

Jennifer Beretta Joins Farm Bureau’s Board Of Directors

Fourth generation Sonoma County dairy farmer Jennifer Beretta strives to keep the dairy and agriculture industries viable in Sonoma County. Beretta recently showed interest in joining the Farm Bureau board, and was unanimously elected at the April 14th meeting. MORE

Stone Fruit and Arugula Salad with Cherry Lime Vinaigrette

Stone fruit is in season and it turns out that summer is just around the corner! Inspired by this we wanted to make a bright, light salad to kick off the season. Made with yellow peaches, white nectarines and cherries. It has a gorgeous color and even better taste with the cherry lime vinaigrette. The fruit is definitely the star of the show with this salad. It is great served alongside your favorite BBQ, use any extra vinaigrette over grilled fish and chicken.MORE

Soiland: Building Relationships and Supporting the Community

Soiland as a pipeline contractor in 1962. Marv was born in San Francisco, but raised in Santa Rosa and surrounded by agriculture. Marv started Soiland with $3,000 and rented a backhoe. Today at 88 years old, he still has the first check he received for $800. MORE

Premium Membership: Seghesio Celebrates 120 Years of Being Family Run

Seghesio Family Vineyards was established by Edoardo and Angela Seghesio in 1895, producing their first vintage in 1902. Their passion was farming and winemaking, and Angela continued to make wine after Edoardo passed.Ned Neumiller is now part of the 5th generation running the family business.MORE

Sonoma County Seeks Pasture Land for Rescued Animals

Sonoma County Animal Services is seeking privately owned pasture land as well as chicken coops to temporarily house livestock and poultry. The housing of animals could be anything from a few weeks to a few months. Sonoma County Animal Services is asking the public for anything they can offer or any ideas they might have. MORE

Smitten with Worms: Jack Chambers and the Sonoma Valley Worm Farm

Jack Chambers was a commercial airline pilot for 33 years, but four years ago he quit flying to focus more on his second business, a worm farm. When Chambers retired from flying in 2011, he had already owned the Sonoma Valley Worm Farm for almost 20 years. Chambers has been juggling two careers as he flew around the world for Delta Airlines and managed his growing business on the side. MORE

Farm Bureau Golf Tournament Raises Funds for Agriculture Education

Sonoma County Farm Bureau hosted its 14th annual Golf Tournament benefiting agricultural education on Friday, June 12th. It was a beautiful day on the greens at Windsor Golf Club in Windsor. There were more than 144 players on 36 teams feverously attacking the course in the scrabble format to see whose team would come out on top. MORE

A New Chapter

Sonoma County Farm Bureau will soon hire a new Executive Director, likely someone from the next generation eager to lead us into the future. It will be a person who begins each day by Tweeting and posting on Facebook. But it also will be someone rooted in agriculture who knows which end of a cow gets up first or which end of the grapevine goes into the ground.MORE

Friend of Farm Bureau

Agriculture in Sonoma County is ever changing. Just as many of our farms have changed what we grow and raise, we also slowly see a change in the farmers and farm families in our county. There are legacy families that have farmed here for over a century, but most of us have roots that date back decades. MORE

2015 Sonoma-Marin Young Farmers And Ranchers Clay Shoot

The Second Annual Sporting Clays Shoot took place at Wing & Barrel Ranch on May 30th. This event was not only an amazingly fun event but was super successful as well! Tickets sold out a week before the event and 150 people showed up for shooting followed by a gourmet lunch prepared by the Young Farmers and Ranchers.MORE

Miss Sonoma County: Challenging Herself to Be the Best She Can

For Athena Brattin-Cain, life is about challenging herself to do more and being involved in something bigger than herself. She recently graduated Elsie Allen High School and throughout her time there, she has challenged herself in every way she could. MORE

Premium Membership: Francis Ford Coppola Winery Focuses on Grower Relations and Quality in the Vineyard

When most people think about Francis Ford Coppola Winery, they think about the restaurant, Rustic, the pool or the film director who started the winery. Even those thinking about the wine don’t often realize that Coppola relies heavily on its grower relations team and the network they’ve built across the state with vineyard owners. MORE

BoDean Company: Supporting the Industry That Supports Them

BoDean was started by Dean and Belinda Soiland. “Bo” and “Dean” were combined to make the singular name now associated with asphalt and aggregate materials such as base rock in Sonoma County. approximately 40% of their end users are agricultural companies and they strive to support the industry.MORE

Seasonal Pita Pizza

Inspired by all of the fresh veggies (and fruit) growing in our garden, we have created this seasonal pizza! So chances are you’ll be able to find the ingredients easily in your garden and local farmers market. We like to serve this as a starter at summer gatherings and you can also make it on the grill or pizza oven! We hope you enjoy!MORE

2014 Sonoma County Crop Report Released

On June 24, Sonoma County Agricultural Commissioner, Tony Linegar, presented the 2014 crop report. The total value for 2014 crops was $899,015,400, a 6% increase from 2013. The number reflects the gross production values, not net income or costs of production and marketing. MORE

Love of the Land: More Than 1200 People Gather to Celebrate Sonoma County Agriculture

Celebrating stewards of the land, community members met at Richard’s Grove and Saralee’s Vineyard in Windsor to attend Farm Bureau’s Love of the Land on Thursday, July 16th. Featuring local wine, cheese and food, the reception was filled with government officials and prominent community members who all share a passion for Sonoma County agriculture and the land on which it thrives.MORE

Count Not on Your Wells but on Your Action

WELLS have been the most reliable source of water. However, with drought and the new Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), we would no longer be able to count on our wells for our survival. MORE

Thank you Tim

As many of you know the Sonoma County Farm Bureau is in the process of saying goodbye to executive director Tim Tesconi. Tim announced his desire to retire earlier this year and we have been in the process of recruiting a new face to step into his shoes. MORE

Historical and Authentic, the Kunde Family is Ready for the Future

Kunde Family Winery is known for their authenticity. Their first crush was in 1904, and they’re one of the oldest bonded wineries in California, using bond number 202, which was first put to use by their Great Grandfather Louis Kunde in the early 1900’s. Now, the fourth and fifth generation of Kundes are successfully carrying on the Kunde Family Legacy. MORE

Multi Grain Panzanella Salad

This salad is a great way to celebrate all that is growing in the garden at this time of year! Taking inspiration from the Italian salad, we changed it up a little; instead of fried bread cubes, we baked ours for that nice crunch. We hope you enjoy!MORE

Innovative and Dog Friendly, Vineyard Industry Products is a Thriving Sonoma County Business

The concept of Vineyard Industry Products came about in the early 70’s when Paul Downer was selling t-posts from the trunk of his car. By the late seventies, Paul and Laraine Downer were working out of the spare bedroom of their house and had six phone lines running to the room. They officially started Vineyard Industry Products in 1979. MORE

Sonoma County Farm Bureau, Preparing Me for a Better Tomorrow

Being a Sonoma County girl, I love agriculture. From my mom and dad’s vineyard, to my grandfather’s horses, to my eleven years showing in 4-H, agriculture has been a huge part of my life. I’ve grown up with amazing mentors. My parents, 4-H leaders, my instructors at Santa Rosa Junior College, and the staff at the Sonoma County Farm Bureau have all inspired me to work hard at both my education and job and success will follow.MORE

Committed to Gravensteins: The Walker Family Has Been Growing Apples For 105 Years

Walker Apples began in 1910 when Arthur Upp planted an Orchard in Graton. Now, the apple orchard is run by his grandson, Lee Walker, and great grandson, Lee Walker III. In 1963, the Walker family built their processing and packing facility. Lee Walker reminisces back to the 70’s when there were 32 packing places in Sonoma County. Now, Walker Apples is one of a few apple packing facilities in the county.MORE

All About Apples: The Devoto Family Grows More Than 100 Varieties of Apples for Cider Production

It’s all about the apples. At the Devoto family’s orchards this is something you’ll hear the entire family say. From apple farming to cider making everything starts with quality in the orchard. Devoto Gardens was started by Stan and Susan Devoto in 1976 when they moved from Berkley to Sebastopol. Susan’s passion was growing cut flowers while Stan was interested in growing crops.MORE

Sonoma County’s Revised Water Well Construction Ordinance

Sonoma County has updated its water well construction standards ordinance for the first time since 1978. The revised ordinance focuses on standards for well construction, abandonment, destruction, setbacks, prohibitions, and water treatment for contaminated wells.MORE

Bring It On…

Turn the clock back fifty years and we would not be engaged in a debate about green-washing. At that time most people didn’t think about reducing their green-house gas emissions, conserving water or implementing “sustainable” practices on their working lands. MORE

82 Awards Presented at the Annual Sonoma County Fair Awards Dinner

The annual Sonoma County Fair awards dinner, sponsored by Sonoma County Farm Bureau, was held on August 5th. Eighty two awards were presented to young, bright members of the 4-H and FFA, the next generation of Sonoma County’s agriculture leaders.MORE

Heirloom Cherry Tomato Pappardelle Pasta

This recipe is the perfect end of summer pasta; fresh tomatoes, herbs, and cheese; what could be better? Switch it up by using tarragon or thyme instead of basil. We can’t wait to pack this for a great lunch, hot or cold!MORE

Western Farm Center: A City-fied Country Store

Brothers Lou and Larry Bertolini started Western Farm Center in 1967 after the Carnation Company closed their retail store. They took over the building near Railroad Square from the Barlas Mill and opened Western Farm Center to meet the needs of customers who had previously purchased from the Carnation Company. MORE

2015 Gravenstein Apple Fair: Eat Fresh, Buy Local

On August 8th and 9th, Sonoma County Farm Bureau attended the Gravenstein Apple Fair at Ragle Ranch Park in Sebastopol. The Gravenstein Apple Fair is put on by Sonoma County Farm Trails and showcases apples grown in Sonoma County as well as all types of apple products from pies and fritters to jams and caramel apples. The fair was family-oriented with a hay-maze for children, numerous crafts and a Life on the Farm Area. MORE

Farewell to a Former President

On July 23 2015, past president of the Marin County Farm Bureau, Joseph “Joey” Mendoza Jr., passed away peacefully after a battle with cancer. Joey was the third generation in his family to operate a dairy on the Point Reyes Peninsula. Joey, a lifelong dairyman, was known for all the time that he spent advocating for the dairy industry in particular and agriculture in general. MORE

Lifetime Contribution to Sonoma County Agriculture: Bob and Shirley Dempel

For Bob and Shirley Dempel, agriculture has been the essence of their life. Their livelihoods, their friends, their careers and everything in between has revolved around agriculture. It comes as no surprise that the Sonoma County Harvest Fair presented Bob and Shirley Dempel with the award for Lifetime Contribution to Sonoma County Agriculture. MORE

Kim Vail, Joins SCFB as Executive Director

Kim Vail of Indiana has been hired as the new executive director of Sonoma County Farm Bureau. Vail will assume his role at one of the county's largest and most influential agricultural organizations on October 5th. Sonoma County Farm Bureau represents nearly 3,000 family farmers, ranchers, rural landowners and agricultural businesses in Sonoma County.MORE

Sharing Water to Save Fish

Hopefully by the time next month’s article is penned, we will have even more evidence that the El Nino conditions forming in the Pacific will deliver much needed relief to Sonoma County – and all of California. Heavy rains will go a long way in calming the fears of many and perhaps quiet the voices of those who claim that agriculture is in large part responsible for our water woes. MORE

Sweet Lane Wholesale Nursery Offers More Than 1,200 Varieties of Plants to Contractors and Landscapers

Ed Grossi has a background in organic farming growing strawberries and pumpkins while his wife Susie Sweet who was a flight attendant has a passion for landscaping; together they’ve turned their home into a successful wholesale nursery, event site and beautiful oasis. MORE

Pumpkin Smores Galette

This is our idea of the ultimate fall recipe! The warm chocolate and toasted marshmallow already taste amazing but add roasted pumpkin pieces that are covered in maple syrup and pumpkin pie spice and you have something special. It’s easy to make and easier to eat, all your friends will love helping you make this fall treat.MORE

Preparing Producers for the El Nino Winter

What’s all the hype about El Nino? As of late September, surface waters in portions of the eastern tropical region of the Pacific Ocean were over 4 degrees Fahrenheit higher than normal, making for some of the strongest El Nino conditions on record. Because we have seen big rains come during El Nino events, many are speculating an epic rain year is on its way. But is it?MORE

With More Than 1,000 Dairy Cows, 1,000 Chickens and 30 Varieties of Pumpkins, the McClelland Family Has Successfully Diversified

Businesses are always challenged with being innovative and developing new cash flows. This is particularly true in the dairy industry which has faced a mountain of challenges in the past and seen a lot of family dairies sell their herds. McClelland Dairy in the Two Rock Valley has found many ways to innovate and diversify their dairy business.MORE

Sonoma County Farm Bureau Hires Marisa Ruffoni as Fall Intern

Marisa Ruffoni, a student at Santa Rosa Junior College, has been selected as the Sonoma County Farm Bureau’s fall intern. As an intern, Ruffoni will have the opportunity to learn about the agriculture industry, the Farm Bureau organization and how the Sonoma County Farm Bureau works with the community to advocate for agriculture.MORE

Sonoma County Agriculture Welcomes Young Entrepreneurs: Jamie Mickelson Launches Sonoma Mountain Beef Company

Many people associate farming with an older generation, and they’re not wrong: the average age of an American famer is 57. But Sonoma County has many opportunities for younger people to become involved in agriculture and launch their own brand. Jamie Mickelson, 26, has been involved in the agriculture industry her whole life.MORE

New Beginnings

Early this summer I placed a phone call to John Azevedo to inquire about a leadership position his county Farm Bureau was interested in filling. Little did we know then that conversations to follow would lead to a new position, in a new county, in a new state? What an amazing chain of events that have transpired and resulted in Sonoma County Farm Bureau placing their trust in a Midwestern farm boy to shepherd the programs, policies and activities that promote agriculture and its valuable connection to the economy of Sonoma County.MORE

Ag Issues Facing Sonoma County

One of the things that came to mind for this month’s article is the hiring of our Executive Director, Kim Vail. I know there was an article in last month’s Farm News welcoming him and highlighting some of his background so I will not be redundant. That said I am very excited to have him here at Sonoma County Farm Bureau and look forward to working with him in the coming years. We searched long and far for someone with his qualifications and could not be happier to have him as part of our Farm Bureau family. MORE

Tomorrow’s Leaders Today Students Learn About Local Perspectives and Opportunities Through Agriculture Tours

October was agriculture month for students of the Tomorrow’s Leaders Today (TLT) program. The Sonoma County Farm Bureau planned and hosted three agriculture tours on October 5th, 12th and 26th. The first two tours hosted high school students from Santa Rosa City Schools and the third tour included students from West County Schools; each tour presented aspects of agriculture to approximately 40 students. MORE

Cauliflower Au Gratin

This side dish made our sister Kathryn love cauliflower but who wouldn’t love this comforting side dish. The rich cheeses and half and half are a splurge but with Thanksgiving coming up its perfect to serve alongside your turkey!MORE

For The Love of Farming: Six People Spanning Two Generations Have Always Found Their Way Back to Agriculture

The Martinelli family’s winery and tasting room is a distinct set of red buildings just off River Road that were originally hop barns dating back to the 1880s. Inside, the tasting room is full of history. Through the renovation of the old building they have saved the historic wooden interior walls inscribed with the former worker’s century-old signatures and graffiti. An old hop baler still sits as a centerpiece in the middle of the room to remind visitors of the building’s original function.MORE

Brandt Insurance Your Resourceful Insurance Agent with Hometown Customer Service

Brandt Insurance was started in 1962 by Milt Brandt. After contracting polio he was looking for a job that didn’t require physical labor, and Milt Brandt launched the business still owned and operated by the Brandt family in Healdsburg. MORE

Goji Berries Provide New Opportunities for Sonoma County Agriculture

Goji berries, also known as wolfberries, are a small red berry that originated in China. They are thought to have been brought to the United States more than 150 years ago by workers of the transcontinental railroad and many of the plants ended up in Utah. The berries are known for their rich nutritional value and have been associated with various health benefits.MORE

Not About the Blue Ribbon: Agriculture Program at Hanna Boys Center Teaches Responsibility and Personal Triumph

It’s easy to take having pets for granted, but not everyone comes from a background where this is possible. Last summer, seven students had the opportunity to raise and sell market lambs at the Sonoma County Fair. Of these seven students, only two had ever had a pet and none had ever worked with livestock.MORE

The Key to Success

Farm Bureau is an organization solely because of your membership, making you a vital part of Sonoma County Farm Bureau. Farm Bureau is people – farmers and ranchers, property owners, agricultural enthusiasts in rural, suburban and urban areas. Roughly 3,000 families belong to Farm Bureau in Sonoma County. MORE

A Year of Success

As I am writing this I can’t believe a year has already gone by as president of this organization. No doubt the busier you are the faster time goes by and that could not be truer this year. As I look back on what we have accomplished, I could not be more proud of our organization. One of accomplishments is hitting our annual membership goal set by the state Farm Bureau.MORE

Students Visit Dutton Ranch to Learn About Agriculture

Agricultural education is important to students of all ages. From younger children realizing apples are hand-picked to older students understanding how organic differs from conventional farming, there is always something for students to learn.MORE

Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Citrus Balsamic Glaze

Three of our favorite ingredients inspired this dish, thyme, citrus, and balsamic vinegar. The balsamic vinegar reduction has a sweet and tangy flavor that goes great with the pork. The aromas of the dish cooking will fill your home with fantastic smells! Enjoy this dish with friend and family!MORE

Sunridge Nurseries, Committed to Customers and Community, Joins Farm Bureau at the Premium Member Level

Sunridge Nurseries is a family owned business started in 1977 by Glen Stoller. Despite that the business has grown exponentially in the last 38 years, the business is still family owned by Stoller, and his son, Craig, who is now Sunridge’s CEO. MORE

Premium Members Gather to Discuss Sonoma County Agriculture

On November 6, Premium Members of the Sonoma County Farm Bureau gathered at Balletto Vineyards for an evening of fine wine and conversations surrounding Sonoma County agriculture. The intimate crowd had the opportunity to meet executive director Kim Vail. New to Sonoma County, Vail had the chance to meet the county’s most influential agricultural producers at the mixer. MORE

Equine Guided Education: Team Building and Leadership with Horses

A trained zoologist, Ariana Strozzi has always been passionate about animals and has worked with all types of exotics and livestock. Strozzi began her career as a horse trainer and riding instructor in the 1980’s, but over time her path led her to something other than horsemanship, a form of working with people and horses called Equine Guided Education or EGE.MORE

Robert Giacomini Dairy Honored for Love of its Land

The Robert Giacomini Dairy, a premier Marin County milk producer that is home to the Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co. and is a respected leader in farmland preservation and stewardship, is the 2013 recipient of the prestigious California Leopold Conservation Award. The Leopold Award, presented Dec. 9 at the 95th annual meeting of the California Farm Bureau Federation in Monterey, comes with a $10,000 award.MORE

‘Arturo’ the Tractor in Place for Thousands of Young Riders

Like a story from the pages of a children’s novel, a once prized tractor – long retired - has gained new life thanks to a little ingenuity from Sonoma County Farm Bureau Board Member Norm Yenni. In November, the Children’s Museum of Sonoma County put out an ask to the agriculture community, they were in need of an antique tractor in “Mary’s Garden,” a 36,000 square foot outdoor nature education and agriculture exhibit at the museum.MORE

Crime in Your Area – Get Informed

Sonoma County has a serious agriculture and rural crime problem. Take this opportunity to become informed about southern Sonoma County: what the area is facing, crime prevention tactics and Proven Technologies. Find out what affordable technologies are combating crime. Also, learn about surveillance equipment and the effective Owner Applied Number (OAN) Program.MORE

Air Board Modifies Rules for Diesel Trucks

Truck owners working to meet state deadlines for replacing or installing emissions control equipment on their diesel vehicles have been granted compliance relief and face a new deadline of Jan. 31, 2014 with the Air Resources Board agency. MORE

Terry Lindley of American AgCredit Honored With Spirit of Sonoma County Award

Terry Lindley whose life has been dedicated to agriculture and community service was honored with the Spirit of Sonoma County Award for his many contributions to Sonoma County Farm Bureau and his unwavering support to agriculture, farm youth and the Sonoma County Fair. MORE

New Year Resolutions… Laurie’s Antipasto

This is such a delicious way to start the party!! Many years ago, Costco carried a jarred antipasto that I loved…well; you know what happened…they quit carrying it! It prompted me to make my own recipe, and I love my version even more. HAPPY NEW YEAR!! MORE

Riding Alone

I have a confession. While in college I taught scuba diving. The number one rule was "never dive alone". But, I was young and foolish and used every excuse in the book to get out there by myself. I dove alone many times. As an adult I now see how VERY unsafe that was. But, hey, I was super careful and took all precautions. Besides, I was immortal! MORE

Sonoma – Marin YF&R Elect Leadership Team and invite USDA to attend January membership meeting

Sonoma – Marin Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R) a committee of Sonoma County Farm Bureau took the next step in fortifying their committee by electing a leadership team. The 10 member YF&R Leadership Team have an exciting calendar of events planned for 2014. MORE

Burglary Prevention Tips

Statistics show that burglaries are on the upswing in Sonoma County. There were 120 home thefts reported from September 2012 to November 2012. This year there were 138 reported. Unfortunately, both the number of thieves prosecuted and the property recovery rate are relatively low. MORE

Wool, a Shear Delight in Valley Ford

Wool is making a big and welcome comeback in the pastures of the North Coast. And nowhere is that renaissance more evident than in and around pastoral Valley Ford, which has become the Northern California epicenter for wool processing and new lines of wool products.MORE

Farm Bureau Foundation of Sonoma County – 2014 Scholarship Applications

The Farm Bureau Foundation of Sonoma County will award more than $50,000 in scholarships this year to deserving students stu1dying agriculture or an agricultural-related field at a four year college, junior college or vocational school. The Farm Bureau Foundation’s mission is to encourage – and financially assist – young people for rewarding careers in agriculture or a closely related agricultural field including the farm-to-table culinary arts.MORE

Walmart Supports California Growers with new Neighborhood Market in Rohnert Park

As one of the largest purchasers of American agricultural products, Walmart is proud to announce plans to open a new Walmart Neighborhood Market in Mountain Shadows Shopping Plaza in Rohnert Park at the corner of Golf Course Drive and Country Club Drive. The new Neighborhood Market is anticipated to open this fall and will provide local residents with access to affordable products and convenient shopping in a smaller store layout. MORE

Rural Neighborhood Watch Program

As part of the community, the Sheriff’s Office plays an important role in keeping the community safe. However, citizen involvement is essential to combat crime. You and your neighbors know what is going on in your community the best. By cooperating with each other and law enforcement, people can help fight crime in their community in the most effective way – before it begins. MORE

Drought Strategies 2014

In California, annual precipitation amounts vary greatly within and between years but this current year is historic! Many long time ranchers are saying that they have never seen conditions like these. MORE

Crime in Your Area – Get Informed

Throughout the State of California, agricultural and rural crimes occur on a regular basis. Sonoma County is no different. Take this opportunity to become informed about southern Sonoma County: what the area is facing, crime prevention tactics and Proven Technologies. Find out what affordable technologies are combating crime. Also, learn about surveillance equipment and the effective Owner Applied Number (OAN) Program. MORE

Safety Training Workshop Series

A series of safety training workshops for agricultural and related industry workers will be held in February and March at the Sonoma County Farm Bureau.The workshops are open to all North Coast workers. Each workshop will cover a range of topics including Pruning and Pesticide safety training, Forklift, Tractor/PTO and ATV safety, Heat stress and Field hygiene. MORE

CPR / First Aid / AED Training

A training course for CPR, First Aid and AED (Automated External Defibrillator) will be offered by Sonoma County Farm Bureau.The session will provide training to respond to accidents and sudden illnesses in emergency medical situations. Upon completion of the class, two-year certifications will be given for CPR and First Aid. MORE

Crab & Wine Fest a Success

Farm Bureau’s Great Sonoma Crab and Wine Fest, a mid-winter party where people from the farm and business communities come together to socialize while supporting the next generation of agricultural leaders, raised more than $100,000.MORE

2014 Foundation Scholarships

Farm Bureau Foundation of Sonoma County will award more than $50,000 in scholarships this year to deserving students studying agriculture or an agricultural-related field at a four year college, junior college or vocational school. Deadline April 11MORE

AgCredit Donates $10,000

American AgCredit, the region’s largest farm lender and one of the leading benefactors to agriculture organizations, has donated $10,000 to the Elsie Allen High School Agriculture Program to purchase a PlasmaCAM computer automated metal cutting system that uses supercharged electrified air to cut through metal.MORE

Innovation Grant for Biochar

An innovative biochar project conducted by the Sonoma Ecology Center and partners has received a $75,000 federal grant. The award from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Conservation Innovation Grant program helps establish Sonoma County’s first integrated biochar production system. Federal funds are being matched by other sources.MORE

Sexual Harassment Avoidance

Farm Bureau is offering training classes for agriculture and other industry Supervisors in Sexual Harassment Avoidance. The two-hour class fulfills a law, AB 1825, that requires supervisory personnel to have two hours of training in sexual harassment every two years.MORE

Seeing Green

I knew I had a keeper when my husband, who usually avoids cauliflower, could not stop eating this!!! It’s such an easy dish to put together too…the Chimichurri Sauce will keep in the fridge for a week and tastes great on grilled meats also.MORE

CPR, First Aid and AED Training

A training course for CPR, First Aid and AED (Automated External Defibrillator) will be offered by Sonoma County Farm Bureau. The session will provide training to respond to accidents and sudden illnesses in emergency medical situations. Upon completion of the class, two-year certifications will be given for CPR and First Aid.MORE

Safer Seniors

As people grow older, their chances of being victimized by crime increase dramatically. Experience has made them aware of possible burglary or physical attacks, but newer, more sophisticated crimes, such as frauds and scams have actually become even greater threats to seniors’ well-being. MORE

Grand Prize Winners in the Ag Days Contest

Farm Bureau administers 8 different agriculture related contests for kids of all ages at Ag Days. Click to view the results of the 2013 contests. All contest winners were honored at the Ag Days Awards Dinner on Tuesday, March 26th at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds.MORE

Ag Days Brings the Farm to more than 4,000 School Kids

Olivia Williams, who takes to farming like some kids take to mall shopping, was among the 4-H’ers bringing animals to Ag Days, taking time from her school day to talk to city kids about the ways of life on Sonoma County farms and ranches.MORE

Grand Prize Winners in the Ag Days Contests

Farm Bureau administers 8 different agriculture related contests for kids of all ages at Ag Days. The contests were open to all Sonoma County Schools, grades K - 6 and Special Education. Click on the link to view the results of the 2014 Contests.MORE

Combating Water theft on Ranches and Farms

As long as I can remember water usage and theft of water has been an area of grave concern for California. Now, the current drought has reached critical levels and is impacting more places than ever in the history of our state. As a patrol Deputy responsible for patrolling hundreds of square miles of rural lands I have spoken with many ranchers experiencing theft of water from their springs and wells and worrying about how to stop this loss.MORE

Farm & Ranch Readiness Emergency Preparedness Field Day is May 4 at Atwood Ranch

A field day for all Sonoma County rural land and livestock owners that focuses on disaster preparedness is 11 a.m to 4 p.m. Sunday, May 4 at the Atwood Ranch on Sonoma Highway near Glen Ellen. The field day is presented by the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, Sonoma County Office of Emergency Services, Julie Atwood Events and the Atwood Ranch. This is a free event, open to anyone interested in learning how to be prepared in an emergency.MORE

CA Employers: Are You in Compliance?

Learn about the latest enforcement effort by the Department of Industrial Relations; representatives from the Labor Enforcement Task Force will help you understand what this special enforcement strike force will be looking for when they conduct enforcement visits for occupational safety and health (OSHA) requirements and wage and hour requirements.MORE

Chicken to Cluck About

The meat counter in the recently opened Community Market at the Barlow in Sebastopol has meats are from a 25 mile radius from ranch names I know and trust…The best way to get your money’s worth out of this chicken is to poach it…you will have broth for other recipes and moist and delicious meat for many uses.MORE

4-H Members: Help Law Enforcement Help You

The Sheriff’s Office implemented an Owner Applied Number (OAN) Program to help law enforcement identify stolen property; returning property to the rightful owners and assistance with stolen property investigations. This program has proven to be very successful. MORE

Avoiding The Training Rut

Training horses is something I love. I love the different personalities, the interaction between the horses and me, and the challenge of bringing the natural talents to the surface. I also love the life. Getting up early, cleaning stalls, feeding, fixing what needs to be fixed, building something new and the independence.MORE

Spring Agricultural Plastic Recycle Event

Sonoma County Ag Commissioners office will hold a plastic pesticide container recycle event again this spring. The event will be held Thursday, May 1, 2014 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.. The collection site will be the Sonoma County Healdsburg Corporation Yard, which is located on Alexander Valley Rd. in Healdsburg.MORE

Fred & Nancy Cline, Dedicated Conservationists

Fred and Nancy Cline, owners of a far-flung agricultural and hospitality empire including Cline Cellars and Jacuzzi Family Vineyards in Sonoma, are conservative in their politics as well as the way they tread on the thousands of acres of land they own in Sonoma, Contra Costa and Tehama counties.MORE

“Saralee Day” Brings the Fair and Farm Animals to County Administration Center

There were more than 400 people attending “Saralee Day” on April 15 at the Sonoma County Administration Center to honor the late, great agriculture leader Saralee McClellend Kunde, who died on Jan. 26 following a courageous battle with ovarian cancer. Saralee was 66 at the time of her death.MORE

Sonoma County Farm Bureau Endorses 11 Political Candidates

Sonoma County Farm Bureau’s board of directors has endorsed 11 political candidates for elective office at the county, state and federal levels. The endorsements were made after the board of directors carefully reviewed and evaluated the field of candidates and then endorsed those who best understand the importance and value of Sonoma County agriculture.MORE

Suspicious Vehicles, Persons and Circumstances

In previous articles we presented ideas for Ranch and Rural Crime Prevention. In this month’s article I would like to reiterate the importance of recognizing suspicious activity. Through an organized Rural Crime Watch, group citizen awareness and a proper response to suspected criminal activity will enable our communities to remain safe.MORE

Jacki Strand Rides Her Way to Miss Wine Country Rodeo

Jacki Strand, who studied agriculture at Santa Rosa Junior College and is now a resident of Orland in Butte County, has been crowned Miss Wine Country Rodeo 2014, earning the right to represent Sonoma County Fair statewide at events and taking home a $500 scholarship and commemorative belt buckle.MORE

Happy Mother’s Day – Field of Clover

After hearing someone say that radishes were the most underappreciated vegetable, I felt inclined to plant some…sure I planted them when the kids were young; they were a fast growing project. A few nibbles here and there, they never really got eaten. I’m sure it was the spicy pepperiness that they never cared for.MORE

Ag Crime Is Here – Are You Prepared?

Throughout the State of California, agricultural and rural crimes occur on a regular basis. Sonoma County is no different. Take this opportunity to become informed about northern Sonoma County: what the area is facing, crime prevention tactics and Proven Technologies. Find out what affordable technologies are combating crime. Also, learn about surveillance equipment and the effective Owner Applied Number (OAN) Program.MORE

Conditioning Your Horse For The Trail

Trail riding is the most popular equine activity among horse owners. On any given day the parking lots of your local park will have a few trailers awaiting their passenger’s return. This is especially so on weekends. An unfortunate side effect of a nice weekend is the increase of calls to the local vet for colic, tying up, and a variety of lameness issues all caused by a horse being out of shape.MORE

Gambonini Family, Farm Bureau’s Farm Family of the Year

Just consider that for 101 years there has been a Gambonini either milking or overseeing the milking at the family’s 540 acre dairy off Lakeville Highway in Petaluma. And because milking is twice a day, 365 days a year, the clockwork routine each morning and evening amounts to nearly 75,000 trips through the milk parlor.MORE

Farm Bureau Foundation Awards $86,000 in Scholarships to Top Agriculture Students in Sonoma and Marin Counties

The Farm Bureau Foundation of Sonoma County has awarded a record $86,000 in scholarships to 31 agriculture students in Sonoma and Marin counties. It’s the largest scholarship pay-out since the Farm Bureau Foundation was established in 2006, reflecting the tremendous generosity of donors who want to support and develop the next generation of Sonoma County farmers and agriculture leaders.MORE

My New Love – Ground Lamb

Sure I love a good rack or perfectly roasted leg…but, Lamb Burgers ARE my new FAV!!! I met Kerry Williams of www.williamsranches.com at the Santa Rosa Farmers Market at the Wells Fargo Center when I went to pick up my Easter leg of lamb. While there, I eyed consumers purchasing her ground lamb meat…hmmmnnn…I had never eaten ground lamb and it peaked my interest.MORE

Low Chilling in 2013-2014 Causes Fruit Tree Problems

This spring as our fruit trees began to leaf out and grow most of us noticed that they were not flowering and growing properly. That is because they did not receive enough hours of chilling. Cool weather and short days in autumn cause most fruit trees, berries, and vines to lose their leaves and go into a state of dormancy, which protects them from winter freezes. MORE

Combating Illegal Marijuana Cultivation on Ranch Lands

I have written about this topic in years past and the problem continues to be a plague on Sonoma County Landscape. This is the season as well. It has been profitable for criminals to plant marijuana on rural ranch lands not belonging to them causing damage to private property and invoking fear. Fear of armed and dangerous individuals guarding a cash crop raises visions of a third world country. These growers have been typically referred to as “Guerilla Marijuana Growers.”MORE

Hazards (Overhead & Underground) and New Requirements

The Farm Bureau Foundation of Sonoma County has awarded a record $86,000 in scholarships to 31 agriculture students in Sonoma and Marin counties. It’s the largest scholarship pay-out since the Farm Bureau Foundation was established in 2006, reflecting the tremendous generosity of donors who want to support and develop the next generation of Sonoma County farmers and agriculture leaders.MORE

Sonoma-Marin YF&R visit San Joaquin County for an Ag Tour

In May, 8 members of Sonoma-Marin YF&R spent the day in San Joaquin County. San Joaquin County YF&R and Sonoma-Marin YF&R partnered on an ag tour to educate their members about agriculture practices and operations. MORE

American AgCredit Moves Dirt for its Corporate Headquarters in Santa Rosa

Construction of American AgCredit’s new 120,000 square foot corporate headquarters is underway at the corner of Airport and Aviation Boulevards, a landmark site at Santa Rosa’s Airport Business Park. Designed by TLCD Architecture of Santa Rosa, American AgCredit’s iconic zinc-clad structure is expected to be completed at the end of 2015. The new building will accommodate the company’s growing number of employees in Sonoma County.MORE

Art Ibleto, Sonoma County’s Goodwill Ambassador

A Madison Avenue marketing firm couldn’t have created someone like Sonoma County’s Art Ibleto, a genuine, bigger-than-life character who has been warming hearts and stretching tomachs for 50 years as the much beloved Pasta King. But Art is much more. He’s a farmer, meat cutter, grape grower, winemaker and the driving force for good in his adopted home of Sonoma County. MORE

Love Thy Neighbor, and Prosper

Last month the Ag Commissioner presented to the Board of Supervisors the 2013 Crop Report. Winegrapes held the leading position among the county’s numerous crops. Noteworthy was that ornamental plants, Christmas trees, and cut flowers showed the highest percentage gains from the previous year: 27%, 31%, and 46%, respectively. These nursery businesses cater mainly to urban and suburban clients within our county or region. The emerging picture may be that we are developing into a successful metropolitan agricultural economy.MORE

Farm Bureau Golf Tournament Raises Funds for Agriculture Education

Sonoma County Farm Bureau hosted its 13th annual Golf Tournament benefiting agricultural education on Friday, June 13th. It was a beautiful day on the greens at Windsor Golf Club in Windsor. There were more than 120 players on 31 teams feverously attacking the course in the scrabble format to see whose team would come out on top.MORE

Owner Applied Number Program (OAN)

Rural Theft is on the rise throughout Sonoma County and everyone who is invested in Agriculture is affected directly or indirectly by this crime. Each and every day a Patrol Deputy takes a report from a farmer or Agri-business partner in our community. Historically in response to this concern the FBI created a numbering system where each state and county assigned number is recorded with NCIC.MORE

Apricots and the 4th of July

Every 4th of July, for many, many years my family had a HUGE BBQ at their deer camp…it grew to over 100 people. My Dad would get up in the wee hours of the morning to light the fire, and then grill the chicken halves, turning and basting with my Mom’s homemade BBQ sauce…and then the chicken was put into a gigantic pot and steamed with more sauce (I think a little butter too ;-). MORE

Gravensteins Celebrated at Country Fair Aug. 9 & 10 in Sebastopol

The Gravenstein Apple Fair, a celebration of the heirloom apple that epitomizes Sonoma County’s rural heritage and agricultural diversity, will be held Aug. 9 and 10 at Ragle Ranch Park in Sebastopol. The beloved country fair is produced by Sonoma County Farm Trails, which for the last 41 years has been supporting agriculture by guiding consumers to farms on the county’s backroads..MORE

Celebrating Sonoma County’s Land and Those Who Love It

Vineyards, pastures and orchards flourish throughout Sonoma County’s agricultural landscape. This region’s bounty is credited to the rich farmland and the hard-working people who farm, protect and conserve it. Farm Bureau’s Love of the Land celebrates Sonoma County’s stewards of the land, who have dedicated their lives to ensuring the land thrives for generations to come. MORE

Time to hang up the Gun belt and Badge

It has been a long 30 years working in law enforcement, but the time has come for me to call it quits and make way for a new generation to fill my boots. My career began in Los Angeles County during the 1984 Summer Olympics and, in the three decades since, I have worked with some of the finest law officers anywhere. Those I’ve partnered with here in Sonoma County for the past 23 years are by far some of the best in the land. MORE

Awards Dinner “Fair Memories” Photos and Video

Sonoma County Fair and Farm Bureau Foundation of Sonoma County's 4-H and FFA Awards Dinner is one of the most meaningful and enjoyable events staged by the Farm Bureau Foundation. It pays tribute to the young people who will one day be leaders in agriculture and the community.MORE

Bice honored at Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce’s Agri-Business BBQ

Jennifer Lynn Bice, owner of Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery, received the Leadership in Agriculture award at Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce’s 42nd Annual Agri-Business BBQ at Shone Farm on July 29. The Agri-Business BBQ is an outdoor tradeshow and barbecue which brings people in business and agriculture together. That evening, guests also came together to recognize Jennifer for her service to the dairy goat industry.MORE

Gluten Free Apricot-Amaretto Upside Down Cake

I came up with this creation one day when I was making my squash frittata…I didn’t have any bread crumbs to help bind it together…but, I did have polenta…it was a success, everyone loved it!!MORE

Sonoma-Marin Young Farmers & Ranchers Sporting Clays Shoot

Sonoma-Marin Counties Young Farmer & Rancher Committee is excited to hold their very first Sporting Clays Shoot on Saturday, September 13th. The event is limited to 75 shooters, so if you want to participate you must get your reservation in soon! Prizes will be awarded to the best shooters in each category. Come on out and shoot some Sporting Clays for a good cause! Sponsorship opportunities available! MORE

Imwalle Gardens: Come for the Produce, Stay for the Charm

If Sonoma County residents are looking for an oasis that is free from distractions, delightful in every possible way, and full of genuine people, they can find it just a few miles from downtown Santa Rosa at Imwalle Gardens. As one happens into this place, which has been barely touched by time, they will likely see a mix of customers, both young and old, walking among the fresh produce, flowers and bedding plants that the Imwalles offer at very reasonable prices.MORE

Code Change to Encourage Agriculture Processing and Retail Sales

Sonoma County supervisors unanimously voted to reduce permitting requirements to better support local agriculture and enhance Sonoma County’s reputation as a specialty food region. On July 29, the board of Supervisors approved a zoning code change to allow small-scale agricultural processing and small-scale retail sales on agriculturally zoned properties with a simpler, faster, less-expensive, zoning permit approval process.MORE

Big-Time, Part-Time Farmers

Rex Williams, one of Sonoma County’s leading livestock ranchers, likes to say that his day job as the maintenance supervisor at Santa Rosa’s St. Francis Winery supports his sheep ranching habit. Rex and wife Kerry run more than 300 head of sheep and farm hay and silage crops on land that is owned and leased in western Sonoma County. MORE

The Chicken and the Egg

I don’t know which came first, but I do know I love them both equally! I had the pleasure of cooking with Pepper Ranch Poultry chicken and eggs at the 2014 Sonoma County Fair. For those of you who missed out, I was at the Sonoma County Fair everyday doing three cooking demonstrations per day, being the cook-o-holic that I am, and had a blast! This year’s “Cooking with Laurie” was bigger and better than last year because I had the opportunity to invite some of our local growers and producers to be my guests.MORE

People, Quality and Environment at the Core of Manzana Products Co.

“We’ve got the old with the new here,” said Manzana Products Company Inc.’s (Manzana) General Manager Mark Fitzgerald. He’s referring to an over 90 year old apple processing legacy with traditions in quality, that’s moving forward with progressive technology.MORE

Farm Bureau Foundation’s Awards Recognition Dinner

More than 600 people gathered at the Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building on August 6 to recognize Sonoma County Fair exhibitors for their achievements. Exhibitors and their families enjoyed a dinner and program put on by the Farm Bureau Foundation of Sonoma County and the Sonoma County Fair. Two Farm Bureau Gold Cup Awards, presented to Jessie Peterson of Liberty 4-H Club and Petaluma FFA, and Ellorine Carle of Penngrove 4-H Club, were among the over 100 awards given.MORE

The Great Peter Pumpkin Patch

Fall is the beginning of leaves changing color, Sundays spent cheering on your favorite football team and a celebration of harvest. For Larry Peter, fall is the season of 6,000 children running around his farm among acres of pumpkins, wrestling potatoes from the ground and enjoying the atmosphere of an everyday dairy. Larry was trying to live out his father’s dream when he started milking cows in 1987.MORE

4-H Foundation Annual Dinner

The 10th annual 4-H Foundation BBQ and “Fun”draiser brought 700 community members together for an evening of grape stomping, friendship, appreciation and support of the dynamic Sonoma County 4-H program. Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate and Gardens in Fulton was the beautiful backdrop for a record-breaking event.MORE

The Riparian Riddle

Fall is the beginning of leaves changing color, Sundays spent cheering on your favorite football team and a celebration of harvest. For Larry Peter, fall is the season of 6,000 children running around his farm among acres of pumpkins, wrestling potatoes from the ground and enjoying the atmosphere of an everyday dairy. MORE

Agstravaganza Honors Carli

Ron Carli, the Sonoma County farm boy who became one of California’s most influential business leaders is being honored at the Santa Rosa Junior College Ag Trust’s Agstravaganza on October 25.MORE

Agricultural Recycle Event

Our office will hold another plastic pesticide container recycle event this fall. The event will be held Wednesday, October 29, 2014 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The collection site will be the Sonoma County Healdsburg Corporation Yard, which is located on Alexander Valley Road in Healdsburg.MORE

Clay Shoot Hits the Mark

On September 13th, shotgun enthusiasts gathered to participate in Sonoma- Marin YF&R Clay Shoot. The group of shooters came together at 9 a.m. at the Wing and Barrel Ranch. MORE

Hobbling

Training your horse to hobble is easier than most people think; the hard part is the preparation. Take your time in preparation, making sure your horse has his groundwork done. They should be able to lead well and feel the halter.MORE

Assembly Bill 2488 is Nothing to Wine About

Now the “try before you buy” mentality doesn’t just refer to fruit, veggies and specialty foods. The farmers’ market experience became more inclusive this summer with a new law allowing wine and cider tasting at certified farmers’ markets. MORE

From the Farm to the Fast Track

In the midst of feeding calves, milking cows and vaccinations, a racer was created. Shelina Moreda is a fifth generation dairy farmer from Petaluma with a passion for professional motorcycle racing. No goal is too out of reach for Shelina and her unstoppable determination has made history. She is the first female to have raced a motorcycle at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. While she continues to push boundaries in the racing world, Shelina stays true to herself and her roots. MORE

Sonoma County Farm Bureau Launches New Level of Membership for Larger Producers

Sonoma County Farm Bureau is offering a new voluntary membership category called Premium Business Support. The new category is for larger producers or businesses that want to further support Farm Bureau’s on-going work in such areas as political advocacy, governmental affairs and regulatory relief.MORE

A Home Run for Team Balletto

The Balletto family and their tight knit team of employees have certainly been working hard, and it shows. They have kept their eyes on the ball and hit it out of park at this year’s Sonoma County Harvest Fair with their sweepstakes winning red wine.MORE

Time to Take a Big Step Into Groundwater

If the grass is greener on the other side, you can bet their water bill is higher.” This will be painfully true soon. On January 1 the Sustainable Groundwater Manage-ment Act of 2014 will take effect. Under the new law, you will likely have to pay fees for having wells, to measure and report how much water you pump, get another bill for it, and to stop pumping after reaching a limit, or else you pay a hefty penalty. MORE

Recipe Remake

Some time ago I was invited to a last-minute get-together. When I learned that the hostess was a vegetarian, I threw together butternut squash enchiladas. Just using what I had on hand, I created a recipe that everyone at the party wanted; my neighbor still talks about them. Well, now I’ve put my Italian spin on them and call them “Italian-adas.”MORE

Giving to the Next Generation of Farmers and Ranchers

For generations, farmers and ranchers have been producing local food and fiber for the residents of Sonoma County and beyond. Farmers and ranchers are the heart and soul of this county, which is recognized by the first word on the County Seal, “agriculture.” Care of the land and animals has been passed down from one generation to another and that is still true today.MORE

Sharing Agriculture with Tomorrow’s Leaders Today

Eighty high school juniors are more informed about Sonoma County agriculture after a day with Farm Bureau members. On October 13 and 20, students from Santa Rosa, Montgomery, Elsie Allen, Piner, Cardinal Newman, Maria Carrillo and Technology high schools learned about dairying, wastewater treatment, specialty mushrooms, apples, vineyards and produce.MORE

For the Love of Tradition

Christmas magic is alive and well in Sonoma County. If you aren’t overwhelmed with joy during the “most wonderful time of the year,” you won’t need to travel all the way to the North Pole to be rid of any Scrooge-like cynicism. A healthy dose of Christmas spirit can be found at 961 Chapman Lane in Petaluma, where visitors are bound to leave Kriss and Carol Mungle’s Christmas tree farm with a smile.MORE

Growers Gear Up to Comply with Frost Regulation to Protect Crops Next Spring

Growers in Sonoma and Mendocino counties who use Russian River water for frost protection must submit a plan to the State Water Resources Board by Feb. 1 if they plan to use water from the Russian River system to protect their crops during next spring’s frost season. Hundreds of growers along the Russian River are impacted by state rules regulating stream diversions during next spring’s frost season, March 15 through May 15.MORE

Tell Me, Sir, Whose Dog Are You?

Alexander Pope, an eighteenth-century English poet, may be best known for his proverbs such as “To err is human…” and “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.” But my favorite is what he inscribed on the collar of the dog he gave to a prince. It read, “I am His Highness’ dog at Kew. Pray tell me, sir, whose dog are you?”MORE

Thank God for the Grapes

Whenever I hear someone whine that there are too many vineyards in Sonoma County, I find myself snapping back, “Thank God for the grapes.” It’s something I am saying more and more as vineyards come under attack by uninformed urbanites, misguided county leaders or the newly rural who envision an agricultural diversity reminiscent of Old MacDonald’s Farm. Please note: Old MacDonald went bankrupt years ago and moved to a trailer park in Idaho.MORE

Farmers and Food Artisans Gather for a Taste of Possibilities to Come

On November 3, 80 farmers, food artisans, agricultural support organizations and representatives from Sonoma County agencies gathered to attend an all-day workshop entitled Taste the Possibilities: Adding Value to Your Ag Business, held at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. Attendees were interested in learning the ins and outs of creating small-batch and artisanal “value-added” products featuring locally grown fruits and vegetables.MORE

Live Auction Items Fulfilled by Donors and Farm Bureau

Sonoma County Farm Bureau is blessed to have many generous donors who contribute fantastic party packages for auction at The Great Sonoma Crab and Wine Fest and Love of the Land. Throughout the year, Farm Bureau staff works with the donors and buyers of these great items to ensure that the packages are a success and enjoyed by all.MORE

Jamison Endowment Fund

The agriculture departments at Santa Rosa and Elsie Allen high schools were awarded grants totaling $3,150 from the Wes Jamison Memorial Endowment Fund, established in memory of the legendary leader who guided Sonoma County agriculture for a half century. MORE

New Seminars and Trainings for 2014-2015

New classes have been added to the ongoing series seminars, trainings and workshops for agricultural and related industries. Held at the Sonoma County Farm Bureau the classes range in topic from CPR to Foreman Management Training and much more.MORE

Frizelle Enos Still Going – and Growing – Strong at 75

Frizelle-Enos Feeds, the oldest continuously operated business in Sebastopol, has evolved with the small town it has called home since 1938, becoming a favorite meeting place for the interesting mix of people who live in western Sonoma County. Over the last 75 years, Frizelle Enos, located at 265 Petaluma Avenue near the old railroad tracks that once ran the train through town, has continually reinvented itself to reflect the community it serves. MORE

Farm Bureau’s Great Sonoma Crab & Wine Fest is Feb. 2 at Sonoma County Fairgrounds

Sonoma County Farm Bureau’s 24th annual Great Sonoma Crab & Wine Fest will be held Feb. 2 in the Grace Pavilion at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. RSVP today. The Crab & Wine Fest, which has become the winter social event for the county’s farmers and ranchers and their friends and supporters, raises money for agriculture education. MORE

Tito Sasaki Takes the Reins as President of Sonoma County Farm Bureau

Tito Sasaki, a Sonoma Valley grape grower, scientist and businessman, is the new president of Sonoma County Farm Bureau, the county’s oldest, largest and most influential agricultural organization. Sasaki, who is 74, succeeds Joe Pozzi, a Valley Ford livestock rancher, as president of Farm Bureau, a non-profit, grassroots organization that has represented the interests of the county’s farmers and ranchers for 95 years.MORE

Cooking With Laurie visits Stemple Creek

When I first started filming ‘Cooking With Laurie’, the first three ranchers I visited all told me the same thing… Do you know Loren Poncia? He would be GrEaT on your show! I did not know Loren Poncia at the time, but I could not wait to meet such a well-known guy. In the fall of 2011, I visited Stemple Creek Ranch which raises all natural, grass fed beef and lamb and…I finally met Loren Poncia. MORE

Falcons and Dogs Put to Work as Vineyard Guardians

Falcons and dogs are being used as vineyard guardians to keep pesky starlings and other birds from devouring valuable wine grapes during harvest. Two workshops held at Sonoma County Farm Bureau in recent months introduced growers to the idea of using falcons and small dogs as alternatives to netting, noisemakers, flags or poison to deal with the avian pests that descend in droves in many Sonoma County vineyards when grapes approach peak ripeness. MORE

Local Natural Foods Market Showcases Products Grown on Their Family’s Micro-Farm

On less than three acres, Susan Bryer and Ernie Shelton grow a significant portion of the produce for Shelton’s Natural Foods Market in Healdsburg. Bryer, a graduate of the Sonoma County Beginning Farmer & Rancher Training program, had prior experience with a backyard garden, but when she met up with Ernie, she had to ratchet up her skill set to tackle this much larger acreage. MORE

Marilyn Herzog Honored With Spirit of Sonoma County Award

Marilyn Herzog, whose life has been dedicated to agriculture and community service, was honored with the Spirit of Sonoma County Award for her many contributions to Sonoma County Farm Bureau and her unwavering dedication to Sonoma County’s quality of life. MORE

Neve Brothers, a Floral Legacy in Petaluma

When Petaluma’s Nick Neve was in second grade he was asked the usual question about what he wanted to be when he grew up. That was easy, he said. He wanted to be a flower grower like his father, grandfather and uncles. He could have said like his great grandfather too, but being only 7 he didn’t know the complete history of the family flower business.MORE

Prepare for the Worst To “Win” on the Trail

There is a popular board game called “The Worst Case Scenario.” The object of the game is to successfully navigate unexpected and dangerous scenarios. In one version, the winning player will not only finish with the most gold tokens, they must keep the most body parts. I think a useful game for horsemen and women might be called “Worst Case Scenario—Trail Riding.” Players would win by staying on the trail, gathering gold “sanity” tokens and, of course, keeping all their body parts!MORE

Cottage Food Law – Selling Food Made at Home

Are you ready to sell your home made foods? This new law may make that possible! On September 21, 2012, Governor Brown signed the California Homemade Food Act into law. This law was implemented on January 1 and creates a new category of retail food facilities known as a Cottage Food Operation (CFO), which will allow persons using home kitchens to make and sell non-potentially hazardous foods.MORE

Cooking With Laurie visits Three Twins Ice Cream

With our below freezing weather this past month, ice cream may have been the farthest thing from your mind…or not! I love ice cream…not just any ice cream…it happens to be ‘Three Twins Ice Cream’ made right here in Petaluma. In October of 2011, I met Neal Gottlieb founder of Three Twins Ice Cream and went on a tour of his ice cream making plant. MORE

Owner Applied Number Program a Tool to Identify Stolen Farm Equipment

Rural Theft is on the rise throughout Sonoma County and everyone who is invested in Agriculture is affected directly or indirectly by this crime. Each and every day a Patrol Deputy takes a report from a farmer or Agri-business partner in our community. MORE

Applications Now Being Accepted for Farm Bureau Foundation Scholarships

The Farm Bureau Foundation of Sonoma County will award more than $50,000 in scholarships this year to deserving students studying agriculture or an agricultural-related field at a four year college, junior college or vocational school. The Farm Bureau Foundation’s mission is to encourage – and financially assist – young people for rewarding careers in agriculture or a closely related field. MORE

$10,000 Donation Triggers Renovation of Old Corrals at SRJC’s Shone Farm

The old livestock corrals at Santa Rosa Junior College’s Shone Farm are getting a much-needed make-over thanks to the generosity of a Santa Rosa investment broker who has donated $10,000 to the renovation project. Santa Rosa businesswoman Eileen Carlisle made the $10,000 donation in memory of her late parents John and Carol Jean Carlisle, who were farmers in North Dakota.MORE

WHEEL Program – English Learning Offered

Sonoma County Farm Bureau is partnering with the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce to provide an English Learning Program for agricultural employees. The WHEEL Program is designed to increase English language skills. The program classes will be held starting Feb. 7th from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and there is no cost for the program. MORE

Farm Bureau’s Great Sonoma Crab & Wine Fest Has Become Region’s Biggest – and Best – Benefit Crab Feed

Guests say Farm Bureau’s Great Sonoma Crab and Wine Fest is so much more than a seasonal crab feed. It’s a mid-winter party where people from the farm and business communities come together to socialize while raising money to support agriculture education and, ultimately, Sonoma County’s farming future. This year’s event raised more than $50,000 for agricultural education and scholarships.MORE

Protecting Precious Cargo: How to Travel Safely With Horses

Everyday big rigs motor down the road carrying materials from here to there. Before being entrusted with a rig weighing in the neighborhood of 80,000 pounds, truck drivers spend time in school learning the working parts of their truck and trailer and how to maintain them. This includes doing a pre-trip inspection and how to strap and secure loads so they will arrive safely and not be a danger to other motorists. MORE

Grossi turns over the Organization to Dolcini

Once again Marin County Farm Bureau celebrated another terrific annual dinner held at the Margaret Todd Center in Novato. About 120 people turned out to see us honor Bob Berner as a Friend of farm Bureau and award Jim Spaletta with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Great food by Jimmy’s Catering, wine donated by American Ag Credit, and an open bar set the stage for a great time.MORE

Cooking With Laurie Visits Hicks Valley Cattle Co.

In February of 2011 my very first episode of ‘Cooking With Laurie’ was filmed…my first ‘victim’ was Billy Barboni. Billy and I go way back, attending Lincoln School together, (he is a few years older ; ) and that is why I still call him Billy…or Dr. Barboni when my co-pilot is at the vets office (Billy is Bart’s vet). MORE

7th Annual California’s Artisan Cheese Festival – Event Lineup for March 22-24

Be it brie, chèvre, blue, crescenza or Dry Jack, one thing’s certain: California’s Artisan Cheese Festival will celebrate all things cheese for the seventh year in a row March 22-24, 2013, at the Sheraton Sonoma County in Petaluma. The United States’ premier cheese and wine event, the Festival brings together artisan cheesemakers, brewers, wineries and guests for three days of cheese tasting and appreciation. MORE

Urgent Request to Rescind Interior Secretary’s Decision to Close Drakes Bay Oyster Company in Point Reyes, California.

Sonoma County Farm Bureau, representing its 3,000-strong members in agriculture, related industries and environmental stewardship, requests you to rescind immediately the decision made by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on November 29, 2012 to close Drakes Bay Oyster Company in Point Reyes, California. MORE

Sonoma County UC Cooperative Extension Prepares for the Second Year of Beginning Farmer & Rancher Training

In 2012, Sonoma County UC Cooperative Extension (UCCE) launched the first of a three year USDA funded beginning farmer & rancher training to increase food access, food security and create more jobs; with an emphasis on reaching underserved populations. MORE

Farm Bureau Seminars and Trainings – Current Classes

A series of trainings and workshops for agricultural and related industry workers are being held at the Sonoma County Farm Bureau in 2013. To register contact Anita Hawkins 707-544-5575. MORE

WHEEL Program – English Learning Offered

Sonoma County Farm Bureau is partnering with the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce to provide an English Learning Program for agricultural employees. The WHEEL Program is designed to increase English language skills. The program classes will be held starting Feb. 7th from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and there is no cost for the program. MORE

Ag Days Brings Grandpa’s Farm to 3,500 School Kids

Geyserville rancher Dick Dilworth swelled with pride as kids looked up – way up - in amazement at his giant draft horses, a matched pair of Belgian beauties named Jada and Megan, on display at Sonoma County Farm Bureau’s Ag Days. “That’s the biggest horse I’ve ever seen in my life,” marveled one small boy who was among the 3,500 school kids attending Ag Days, held on March 26 and 27 at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds.MORE

Selling a Healthy Landscape – Our Local Rangelands

Rangelands owners and managers are familiar with the economic value that rangelands provide – specifically grazing opportunities for livestock; however that 40% of California’s land mass provides so much more. It is a whole ecosystem that provides benefits to the landowner and to all life forms living or passing through that land. The benefit of well-maintained ecosystem services is as small as neighbors that benefit from clean water to as great at as worldwide benefit of clean air and carbon sequestration.MORE

Cooking With Laurie Visits RedHill Farms

I recently visited RedHill Farms in Petaluma and met Don Gilardi for the first time…he can hardly keep up with the demand for his pasture raised organic eggs. Don showed me his moveable hen houses, which, by the way...are the most high tech, unique design I have ever seen. They have solar panels to turn lights on when the days are short and the BEST part…you gather the eggs without setting foot inside; a side trap-door flips down and BiNgO…there are rows of individual nests filled with eggs. MORE

Barn Sour or Buddy Sour Horses

Barn or buddy sour horses are not fun. In fact, they can be down right dangerous. When they’re acting up they’re not listening to the rider. Therefore, the rider has little or no control of the horse. This can lead to injury for either the horse or the rider or both. How do you fix this? It takes time and consistency. Below I will outline my plan to eliminate these two problems. Note: If you are looking for a quick fix, don’t bother reading this article. There isn’t one. MORE

Spring Agricultural Plastic Recycle Event!

Our office will hold a plastic pesticide container recycle event again this spring. The event will be held Wednesday, May 22, 2013, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.. The collection site will be the Sonoma County Healdsburg Corporation Yard, which is located on Alexander Valley Rd. in Healdsburg. MORE

Michael Saqui on Farm Labor and Vineyard Management: The Risks and Rewards of Doing it Right

Sonoma County Farm Bureau, Sonoma County Winegrowers, California Association of Winegrape Growers and Michael Saqui of The Saqui Law Group Counselors to Management are sponsoring a workshop for vineyard managers, grape growers, wineries and all agricultural employers on Farm Labor and Vineyard Management: The Risks and Rewards of Doing it Right. MORE

Tish Ward, Conservation Crusader

Sonoma County rancher and conservationist Tish Ward has an abiding respect for land and nature, believing that farming and environmental protection are not mutually exclusive. In fact, she does both with unwavering dedication at the Atwood Ranch in Glen Ellen where she has been the ranch manager and resident sage for nearly 30 years.MORE

WHEEL Program and Agriculture

Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce and Sonoma County Farm Bureau offered a 9-week English language program (WHEEL Program-Worksite Held Employee English Learning) to the agriculture industry. The February through April months were filled with excitement as the program participants increased their English skills enriching their employment and personal lives.MORE

Protect your Livestock From Rustlers

Cattle rustling -- raiding or stealing animals from their home pastures -- is an old, but still serious crime that hurts ranchers financially. Unfortunately, rustling is becoming a growing problem in California thanks to the rising market value of beef and other livestock. MORE

Francesca Gambonini of Petaluma Crowned District 3 Dairy Princess

Francesca Gambonini, a sixth generation member of a Sonoma County dairy farming family who has plans to become a dairy cattle geneticist, is the new District 3 Dairy Princess, becoming the goodwill ambassador for the North Bay dairy industry for the next year.MORE

Happy Mother’s Day – Strawberry Daiquiri Trifle

I have to thank my mom for my start in the world of culinary creations…as a wee one, she didn’t mind that I would raid the kitchen and start chopping and mixing and exploring, she didn’t care that I made a mess in her kitchen…but, she also made me clean everything up when I was finished. With that said, here is a simply sweet recipe for all the moms, for Mother’s Day. MORE

Nick Frey – the Voice for Viticulture

Nick Frey, who has been the leading – and most respected - voice for the Sonoma County wine grape industry over the last 14 years, is retiring as president of the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission, the marketing organization that he helped launch. Frey’s retirement was announced earlier this year and became effective on May 1. He will continue to work part-time for the commission. He and his wife Angie plan to stay in Sonoma County where they have become part of the agricultural community.MORE

Confidence!

Confidence is a funny thing. Depending on the situation, you either have it or you don’t. It takes time to attain but can be lost in an instant. Having confidence makes life more enjoyable. Not having it makes life scary. By definition, confidence is trust or faith in a person or thing. People and horses both want confidence. MORE

Cooking with Laurie Visits Devil’s Gulch Ranch

Last January I made a visit to Devil’s Gulch Ranch in Nicasio, CA where I met Mark Pasternak and learned about his EnOrMoUs rabbit raising operation…yes…he has about 8,000 rabbits!! His one rabbit barn in Nicasio and three barns in Two Rock grew from two does and one buck…and that’s not all…Mark also has pork, lamb and quail, vineyards AND coffee.MORE

Dinner Dance on July 13 is Benefit for Barn Raising at Hanna Boys Center in Sonoma

A benefit dinner dance to raise money for livestock equipment and a new barn for the Hanna Boys Center Agriculture Department will be held from 6 to 10 p.m. July 13 at Hanna Boys Center, located at 17000 Arnold Drive in Sonoma.MORE

Saralee, Sonoma County’s Fair Lady

The 65-year-old agricultural activist also is known as the Unsinkable Saralee and the Godmother of Good Causes, especially if they relate to agriculture, farm youth and the Sonoma County Fair. She has been making a difference in Sonoma County since the days she wore her green and white 4-H uniform and showed Holstein dairy cows at local fairs, inspiring others to preserve and perpetuate the farms and ranches that define Sonoma County and its rich agricultural heritage.MORE

Rescue Horses

Quite often I find myself on the politically incorrect side of topics. But I have always prided myself on being pretty realistic. Picking the right horse is a practice in realism. So often people want to pick a horse based on color, breed, bloodlines, or just because “they’re so darn cute”. While I have been guilty of all these things in the past there is a movement that has been causing my phone to ring off the hook.MORE

Steven Easter Elected President of the Farm Bureau Foundation

Steven Easter, a resident of Occidental who retired to Sonoma County after a distinguished career with Blue Diamond Growers in Sacramento, is the new president of the Farm Bureau Foundation of Sonoma County.MORE

Farm Family of the Year

The Martinelli Family’s farming history spans more than a century in Sonoma County and mirrors the county’s colorful panorama of agricultural history.MORE

Olson Awarded Medallion

Steve Olson, a pivotal figure in North Coast agriculture and education, was honored with the Santa Rosa Junior College President’s Medallion.MORE

Golf Tournament Raises Funds

Sonoma County Farm Bureau hosted its 12th annual Golf Tournament benefiting agricultural education. More than players 130 participated to see whose team would come out on top.MORE

2012 Crop Report

The Agricultural Commissioner is required by law to annually compile and report crop and livestock statistics as well as pest exclusion, management and eradication activities. MORE

NBC TODAY Burger Battle

My car phone rang…it was my husband calling to say there was a message at home for me to call the NBC TODAY Show, something about a burger contest. I quickly returned their call. I was one of three entered in the Burger Battle!MORE

Target Hardening

In many of my past articles I discussed various aspects of “Target Hardening”. This month I would like to reiterate reasons why this concept is important in enhancing your overall security.MORE

Wilson Awards $25,000

Twenty–three students from Sonoma County were selected recipients of the Wilson Artisan Wineries Children of Vineyard Workers Scholarships. The total value of the scholarships awarded to students was $25,000.MORE

Virginia Creeper Leafhopper

The native Western grape leafhopper, has historically been a pest of grapes that requires insecticide control. More recently, Virginia creeper leafhopper, has been reported from vineyards and, can cause significant damage if not controlled. MORE

Celebrating Love of the Land

t was a night to remember as 1,200 people came together at Farm Bureau’s Love of the Land to celebrate Sonoma County’s bounty while honoring the dedicated stewards who are doing their part to protect the land producing that agricultural bounty.MORE

Re-uniting Ag Industries

AG UNITE was the banner under which some 600 people rallied in Chico on June 12. It was organized by the County Farm Bureaus of Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Shasta, Tehama, and Yuba/Sutter. It aimed at raising funds for Farm PAC and Ag Unite Legal Fund.MORE

Benedetti to be Honored

Dan Benedetti, Chairman of the Board of Clover Stornetta Farms, will be honored with the “Leadership in Agriculture Award” at the Santa Rosa Chamber’s 41st Annual Agri-Business BBQ on Aug. 22. MORE

Summer Time Bounty

I love this time of year…you either have fresh veggies in your garden or know someone who has an overabundance. This recipe is a spin-off of my “Italian Pinhead Torta”. By omitting a few items, I created a vegan recipe for friends.MORE

Loose Horse

Recently I was on a training ride with a client horse in my favorite park. The horse was exceptional and I felt very secure on him. He just needed time and miles.MORE

Awards Dinner Video

The 4-H and FFA Awards Dinner pays tribute to the young people who will one day be leaders in agriculture and the community. The Awards Dinner video is full of great photos from the fair.MORE

Petaluma Creamery Turns 100 and Still Keeps Churning

The venerable Petaluma Creamery, established in 1913 by a group of dairy farmers, has dutifully anchored the west side of downtown Petaluma for the last century, defining the town’s agricultural roots and serving as the economic engine for the Sonoma-Marin Dairy Belt.MORE

Sonoma County Fair’s Top Exhibitors Honored at Farm Bureau Foundation’s Awards Dinner Gold Cup

The Sonoma County Fair’s cream-of-the-crop took center stage at the Sonoma County 4-H and FFA Awards Dinner where Francesca Gambonini and Regina Pozzi, both of Petaluma, were named the outstanding Sonoma County Fair exhibitors for 2013.MORE

USDA Official Visits Neve Bros. in Petaluma to Gather Input about Trade and Farm Labor

A high-ranking official of the United States Department of Agriculture toured the Neve Brothers flower operation in Petaluma and other farm and food companies in Sonoma and Napa counties to discuss key issues including immigration reform, trade agreements and the buy-local movement.MORE

Where in the World did that come from? apples

This one came to me as I was cleaning my kitchen floor early one morning…I was going to be sharing my pesto recipe at the Sonoma County Fair that day and was trying to think of a clever way to serve it. Over pasta, although delicious, sounded too boring to me!MORE

Preventing Illegal Cultivation of Marijuana on Your Lands

In recent years it has become profitable for criminals to grow marijuana on property belonging to others, particularly in rural parts of Sonoma County. Fear of armed and dangerous individuals guarding a cash crop raises visions of a third world country. These growers have been typically referred to as “Guerilla Marijuana Growers.”MORE

Harvest Fair to celebrate Sonoma County’s best food, wine, craft brews and ciders

The Sonoma County Harvest Fair, October 4-6, 2013, will offer guests the best of traditional favorites with many new, exciting features, for an enhanced, and tastier, wine country harvest festival. With the addition of unique and educational demonstrations, a renewed focus on local and artisanal products, a new cooking competition and interactive tastings, this year’s event is shaping up to be an exceptional celebration of Sonoma County’s finest and best-known products.MORE

Tom Gore Honored for Dedication to Viticulture at the Harvest Fair

Some people are born with certain talents and instincts, Tom Gore is one of those people. Tom was born and raised in Alexander Valley where his father, Tom Sr., was a vineyard manager and partner in Vyborny Vineyard Management.MORE

Santa Rosa Farmers Market – Sonoma County’s True Original

The bounty of Sonoma County –and beyond – is on spectacular display every Wednesday and Saturday at the Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market, which has been supplying homegrown fruits and veggies to local shoppers for the last 46 years.MORE

Tyler Klick Named Outstanding Young Farmer by the Sonoma County Harvest Fair

Tyler Klick literally stomped his first grapes at his family’s Lake County vineyard when he was just six years old. To take a break from their logging and lumber business in Mendocino County, each summer Klick and his family would spend time at their vineyard where they would take to wine making the old-fashioned way, with the kids being the premier grape stompers. MORE

Cooking with Laurie – Tequila Fuego Wrap Neve Flowers

Those of you who know me, know that I love FiRE…lighting food on fire at the dining table always seems to impress. This idea hit me like a lightning bolt…why not melt my cheese with FlAMiNG Tequila?! This recipe was created by me for the upcoming “First Annual World Wrapped Cooking Competition” held during the Sonoma County Harvest Fair.MORE

4-H Foundation BBQ Beats the Rain and Raises Record Revenues

Rain showers left organizers of the 4-H Foundation of Sonoma County’s BBQ and “Fun”draiser a bit bewildered for a time but miraculously the clouds parted and the sun came out, setting the stage for a fantastic event that raised more than $100,000 in net proceeds.MORE

Help for Property Owners with Unregistered Ponds in Sonoma & Marin Counties

This past year the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) Division of Water Rights began the process of registering ponds on the north coast. Property owners in Marin, Sonoma, Mendocino, Humboldt and Napa counties were notified that as owners of surface water ponds they were required to register the pond for use or seek an appropriative water right.MORE

Farmer Vic – Ag’s Goodwill Ambassador

This old farm is the best show in town, attracting visitors from around the world who have come to know “Farmer Vic” as the kindly keeper of a menagerie of feathered and hooved critters in pastures along Shiloh Road in Windsor.MORE

2013 Sonoma County Equine Survey Being Conducted Online

The Sonoma County Horse Council (SCHC), an important partner to Sonoma County Farm Bureau, is counting on every local horse owner to participate in Sonoma State University’s equestrian funded 2013-14 Online Survey of Sonoma County’s Equine Industry. MORE

Smashed Prawn Risotto

I recently had the opportunity to meet Dan Magnuson of Soda Rock Farms in Healdsburg and taste some of his heirloom tomatoes. It all began when I invited Jennifer Hedgpeth, owner of SMASH Foods co., to be a guest on “Cooking With Laurie” TV show. MORE

Combating Illegal Dumping Harvest Fair

You’ve all seen it: A ragged broken sofa, rusted appliance, mounds of torn trash bags overflowing with household garbage piled along the side of a road. It’s an unsightly mess, illegal and a major problem for property owners in rural Sonoma County. Here are some tips to prevent the nuisance on your own land.MORE

“Ag Days” for TLT

Farm Bureau coordinated the “Ag and Natural Resources Day” programs for 80 Santa Rosa area students selected for Tomorrow’s Leaders today, a program for high-achieving high school juniors.MORE

Re-think Habitat Regulations

I remember when I was a young student in London, the stain I used to get on my shirt was black soot. Up to the 1950s, all buildings in my neighborhood were heated by coal-fired steam. In many industrial areas, soot from factories was so pervasive that the tree bark turned black.MORE

Wine Industry Leaders Meet

Congressman Mike Thompson hosted a round table discussion with U.S. Trade Ambassador Michael Froman & U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and local leaders from the wine industry on November 17 at Robert Mondavi Winery in Oakville. MORE

Old Man Winter Is Coming

In the last few years we have had relatively dry winters here in Sonoma County. Hopefully that will soon change as we really need the rain. But even with dry winters we still get the short cold days. With a little rain and dropping temperatures we, as horse owners, must to be prepared.MORE

Digital Cameras for Security Harvest Fair

Thanks to the pictures they produce, trail cameras in strategic locations can be one of the best, most cost-effective crime detectors available for both ranchers and their law enforcement partners. It is virtually impossible for a suspect to deny his presence when a picture clearly shows him there.MORE

Fresh Trees, a Holiday Tradition Harvest Fair

It’s the time of year to pack up the kids to scout the hills and dales of Sonoma County for the perfect Christmas tree to string with lights and garland. There are more than a dozen choose-and-cut tree farms in Sonoma County, with most of the farms concentrated west of Petaluma and in the hills around Sebastopol.MORE

Laurie’s Turkey Pot Pies Harvest Fair

Driving home from the airport after a grueling, long five days in Vegas, where I competed in the World Food Championships and placed 4th overall in Desserts, my Sous Chef, Dawn Bettinelli said to me, “You’re not going to cook when you get home are you?!” Hehehe…being the cook-a-holic that I am, I said, “Yes".MORE

Owls, Flys & New Regulations Harvest Fair

Farm Bureau is holding a Workshop on Dec. 16th, open to Pesticide Applicators and Certified Crop Advisers, covering Barn Owls, Olive Fruit Fly infestations and new regulations affecting the Hazard Communication Standard. The workshop will be presented in English.MORE

Does it make cents to buy farmland in Sonoma County?

This tale is about two highly motivated and bright people brought together by a love of equines. Nathalie Guion came to this country on her own from France, with exceptional credentials as a horsewoman and trainer, to create a life for herself. MORE

CA Employers: Are You in Compliance?

California agricultural employers are more regulated than any other in our nation. Do you know everything that is required of you for 2013 and beyond? Find out beginning Tuesday, January 22nd. Take this opportunity to consult with Brian Little of FELS and Ron Barsamian an agricultural labor and employment law attorney. MORE

Bosworth General Store Moseys Into Its Second Century as Family Owned Business

For 100 years Bosworth & Son General Merchandise in Geyserville has been the place where townsfolk stop for a sack of grain or a bit of gossip, sometimes both, and never leave disappointed. This year the Bosworth general store moves into its second century as an anchor on Geyserville’s main street and as the heart and soul of the tiny town in northern Sonoma County. MORE

Farm Bureau’s Great Sonoma Crab & Wine Fest is Feb. 4 at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds

The 23rd Annual Great Sonoma Crab & Wine Fest, which has become the winter social event for the county’s farmers and ranchers and their friends and supporters, raises money for agriculture education. The goal of Farm Bureau’s extensive agricultural education program is to create an awareness of the county’s annual $3 billion agricultural industry so that farms and ranches remain part of the rural landscape for generations to come.MORE

The Healing Power of Horses, One Day at a Time Lessons in Life, Learned both on and off the Back of a Horse!

Today is unlike any other day in the life of this horse girl. It is morning time, and a chilly one at that. Feeling my body’s pain I gingerly prepare myself for the bitter cold weather that has blanketed my field overnight painting it white against the early morning light. It is definitely a day to bundle up as I tentatively make my way out to feed my horsesMORE

Windsor Farm Boy Returns to his Rural Roots Following Successful Career in the Aerospace Industry

When he was a boy growing up on the family’s fruit ranch in Windsor, Chuck Elsbree couldn’t wait to brush off the dust and get out of town. There wasn’t much glamour and little or no profit producing prunes, pears and apples in the 1940s and 1950s in Sonoma County. MORE

Bob Cabral of Healdsburg’s Williams-Selyem Hailed as World’s Best Winemaker

When Bob Cabral, winemaker extraordinaire at Healdsburg’s Williams-Selyem Winery, learned he was the winemaker of the year – for the world - he confesses near shock while experiencing emotions that ranged from exhilaration to regret.MORE

Seller’s Market for Grapes Bolsters Spirits at Winegrape Commission’s Dollars & $ense

A dramatic turnaround in the wine market is sharply increasing prices for grapes, bolstering the spirits and optimism of growers beaten down over the last several years by sluggish demand, low prices and hellish weather during harvest.MORE

Fair Manager Tawny Tesconi and Sonoma County Fair Honored by Western Fairs Association

Tawny Tesconi, manager of the Sonoma County Fair and a respected leader in the West Coast fair industry, was inducted into the Western Fairs Association’s Hall of Fame for her ongoing contributions to the fair industry.MORE

Bisordi and Breeden Are Top Pruners at Winegrape Commission’s Youth Pruning Contest

There were more than 35 young people, ranging from 9 and under to 19 years of age, competing in the 8th annual Youth Pruning Contest where Robbie Bisordi of Green Valley 4-H and Logan Breeden, a student at Hanna High School in Sonoma, were selected the pruning champs in their respective age categories.MORE

Artisan Cheese Festival

The United States premier artisan cheese event, the 6th Annual California's Artisan Cheese Festival, has announced this years roster of talent leading seminars and workshops slated for Saturday, March 24, 2012.MORE

Twin Chef Advocates

At 10-years-old, Audrey and Lilly Andrews, identical twins from Sonoma County, are passionate foodies, dutifully spreading the word about healthy eating and culinary joys of fresh farm products.MORE

Crab & Wine Fest a Big Splash

Fresh crab, fine wines and a big splash of Wine Country camaraderie combined to make Farm Bureau’s Great Sonoma Crab and Wine Fest a grand night raising money for scholarshipsMORE

Farm Bureau Scholarships

Farm Bureau Foundation of Sonoma County will award more than $30,000 in scholarships this year to deserving students studying agriculture or an agricultural-related field at a four year college, junior college or vocational school. ALL scholarship applications are due by 5 p.m. Friday, April 13, 2012.MORE

Ag Crime Prevention Class

Sonoma County has a serious agriculture crime problem. Take this opportunity to become informed about ways to prevent crime through education, marking of property (OAN Program) and surveillance equipment. The seminar is being held on Wednesday, April 25th at Stewarts Point Store.MORE

ESA Seminar at Farm Bureau

A seminar offering strategies for farmers and ranchers forced to deal with the challenges and complexities of the federal Endangered Species Act will be held from 10 to 11 a.m. March 19 at Sonoma County Farm Bureau, 3589 Westwind Blvd. in Santa Rosa.MORE

Ag Days Brings the Farm to Town for 5,000 Kids

After a long, dry winter, no one was complaining when a powerful storm dumped up to five inches of much-needed rainfall over Sonoma and Marin counties, leaving the participants in Farm Bureau’s Ag Days a bit drenched, if undaunted.MORE

Being A Farmer

Being a farmer, I have had the opportunity to learn about life from a perspective that involves continuous birth, living, and death. It is a cycle all too easy to miss (or misunderstand) and I feel so fortunate to have had the chance to live my life this way.MORE

Moreda Laguna Dairy Rises to Top in North Bay Milk Production

The Moreda Laguna Dairy, owned by the Donald J. Moreda family of Petaluma, had the first place herd in the annual North Bay Dairy Herd Improvement Association’s milk production testing program. The award was announced at the DHIA’s awards banquet on March 29 in Petaluma. MORE

Millie Howie’s Life and Times Will Be Celebrated May 12 at Healdsburg Library

A reception will be held May 12 to celebrate the remarkable life of the late Millie Howie, a wine writer and community activist who elevated Sonoma County’s place on the world wine stage and was the driving force behind the Sonoma County Wine Library in Healdsburg.MORE

Black Ruby, the Racing Mule, and Seven Horse Folks Inducted into the Equus Hall of Fame

Black Ruby, a 19-year-old mare owned by Mary and Sonny McPherson of Healdsburg, did not attend the Equus Awards banquet at the Flamingo but she was the star of the evening. She was honored for her lifetime achievement and winning role in advancing mule racing locally, nationally, and internationally.MORE

Rex and Kerry Williams are Sonoma County Farm Bureau’s Farm Family of the Year

Rex and Kerry Williams, first generation farmers who are proving that you don’t have to marry or inherit a farm to be ranchers, are Sonoma County Farm Bureau’s Farm Family of the Year.MORE

Determination and Smarts Equal a Profitable Farm Operation

An orchardist and farmer, Torrey Olson comes from rural roots. Born and raised in Laughten, Oklahoma, his parents and relatives were either teachers or farmers. Eventually, he too became a math instructor for several years in Cleveland before moving to Sonoma County where he taught at Piner High School.MORE

Suzanne Amaral of Sonoma Crowned District 3 Dairy Princess

Suzanne Amaral, a young woman from the Sonoma Valley active in the 4-H and FFA programs, is the new District 3 Dairy Princess, becoming the goodwill ambassador for the North Bay dairy industry for the next year.MORE

Sheila Quince Gets Big Send-Off from Sonoma County Fair

It was a grand farewell for Sheila Quince, the longtime exhibits coordinator at the Sonoma County Fair, when more than 300 friends, family members, co-workers and supporters gathered for her retirement dinner and celebration on March 31.MORE

Fond Farewell to Larry Bertolini, Sonoma County Agriculture’s Elder Statesman

Larry Bertolini, the elder statesmen of Sonoma County agriculture who was a pivotal figure in farming and education for more than 50 years, is being remembered by generations of county residents for his voice and vision during a lifetime devoted to building community and urban-rural relationships.MORE

John Sawyer Endorsed by Sonoma County Farm Bureau for First District Supervisor

John Sawyer, a fourth generation Sonoma County resident with deep roots in the county’s farming industry, has won Sonoma County Farm Bureau’s endorsement for Sonoma County Supervisor. Sawyer, who served as mayor of Santa Rosa and is the former owner of Sawyer’s News in Santa Rosa, is seeking the First District Seat on the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors.MORE

Sonoma County Farm Bureau Endorses Stacey Lawson for Congress

Sonoma County Farm Bureau is supporting Stacey Lawson, an educator and small business owner, in her bid for Congress because she is the only candidate in the race with real-world, hands-on experience in job creation and small business growth.MORE

2012 Annual Grower Seminar, Tradeshow & Barbecue

Event Date: June 15, 2012 Location: Warren G. Dutton SRJC Shone Farm, 6225 Eastside Road, Forestville. Join 300 of your neighbors, friends, co-workers, and over 50 favorite vendors at one of the year's largest gatherings of Sonoma County grapegrowers. The event is at SRJC's Shone Farm. Registration check-in and the tradeshow open at 7:30am and the seminar begins promptly at 8:30am.MORE

Al Cadd, the Man of the Russian River

For all of his 86 years, Al Cadd has lived on a bend of the Russian River that meanders through the Alexander Valley, the agriculturally-rich vale where his family has farmed since 1914. He considers himself a lucky man to live in a place that not only offers incredible natural beauty but fertile farmland that has sustained generations of families for more than 150 years.MORE

Farm Bureau Foundation Awards $52,000 in Scholarships to Top Agriculture Students in Sonoma and Marin Counties

The Farm Bureau Foundation of Sonoma County has awarded 31 scholarships, with a total value of $52,000 to top agriculture students from Sonoma and Marin counties. All 31of the scholarship recipients will continue their agricultural education at Santa Rosa Junior College or a four year university with several students attending out of state universities such as Cornell University in New York and Oklahoma State University.MORE

Land Conservation – At What Cost?

California’s most valuable land conservation program, the California Land Conservation Act of 1965 (CLCA) or Williamson Act (WA) may face new fees at the county level and new challenges in the months ahead.MORE

Dutton Family Honored with SRJC President’s Medallion

The Dutton Family, one of the Sonoma County’s premier farming families and longtime agricultural leaders and community benefactors, was honored with the Santa Rosa Junior College President’s Medallion for their contributions and leadership.MORE

Ag Crime Series Successful

The Sonoma County Farm Bureau and Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office Rural Crime Task Force presentation partnership has been successful. The Ag Crime Prevention Seminar series began in August 2011 in Santa Rosa and travelled throughout the county into May 2012.MORE

Cattlewoman Bobbie Hall is Sonoma County Fair’s Rancher of the Year

Barbara “Bobbie” Hall, a Rohnert Park resident who runs more than 200 head of beef cows on leased ranches spanning over 3,000 acres in west Marin County, is being honored by the Sonoma County Fair as the North Bay Rancher of the Year. The award is tribute to Hall’s dedication to cattle ranching and her decades of work in herd improvement through genetic selection and good management.MORE

Art Lafranchi Inducted into Sonoma County Farm Bureau Hall of Fame

Attorney, dairy farmer, grape grower and community leader, Lafranchi is as comfortable in his law office working with a family on estate planning as he is balancing feed rations for the Holsteins at his Santa Rosa dairy. He is the patriarch of the Lafranchi family, a man of the land and vocal advocate for agriculture – a great man who friends describe as the “original class act.”MORE

Buttke Family Dairy Named Outstanding Dairy of the Year by Sonoma County Fair

The Buttke Family Dairy, a true family farm where several generations work together to produce milk and meat, is being honored as the Sonoma County Fair’s Outstanding Dairy of the Year in the North Bay. The Buttkes will be presented with the Edward J. Maddalena Memorial Trophy on Farmer’s Day at the Fair, August 5 in Chris Beck Arena.MORE

2011 Sonoma County Agricultural Crop Report Released

The Sonoma County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office presented the 2011 Sonoma County Agricultural Crop report and department summary to the Board of Supervisors on June 19. The total gross value of agricultural commodities produced in Sonoma County in 2011 was $581,031,700 which represents a 1.7% decrease from the 2010 value.MORE

Free Truffle Cultivation/Business Workshops

American Truffle Company presents a FREE Truffle Cultivation/Business Workshop. Truffle orchards are highly profitable and are an excellent and viable way to diversify land usage. Get an overview of the science and business of European black truffles from cultivation expert and American Truffle Company Managing Director Robert Chang. MORE

Master Farmers and Ranchers Helping Support the Next Generation

The first group of Sonoma County Agropreneurs will completed four of nine Beginning Farmer and Rancher Training classes. This USDA funded program, overseen by Sonoma County UCCE, will educate up to 75 new farmers and ranchers for Sonoma County (25% disadvantaged) over three years, increasing access to fresh locally produced food.MORE

Sonoma County’s Agricultural Heritage Celebrated at Farm Bureau’s “Love of the Land.”

There were nearly 1,000 people celebrating the agricultural bounty of Sonoma County at Farm Bureau’s “Love of the Land” held at Richard’s Grove and Saralee’s Vineyard where the county’s beauty was on full display among ancient oaks and sweeping vineyard vistas.MORE

Wilson Artisan Wineries Awards $17,100 in Scholarships to Children of Sonoma County Vineyard Workers

Twenty students from Sonoma County were selected recipients of the Wilson Artisan Wineries Children of Vineyard Workers Scholarships, a unique program to assist the children of vineyard workers in their pursuit of higher education.MORE

MALT Saves Critical Pastureland for Moretti Family’s Organic Dairy

Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT) helped save a Marin organic dairy near the town of Tomales when it permanently protected a 126-acre property. Second-generation dairy farmers Monique and Mike Moretti had leased this critical piece of farmland for 16 years and transitioned its pasture to organic along with the dairy last year.MORE

Rich Thomas, Sonoma County’s Dr. Vine, Honored with Santa Rosa Chamber’s Leadership in Agriculture Award

Rich Thomas, the longtime viticulture instructor at Santa Rosa Junior College who sports the personal license plate “Dr.Vine,” is the recipient of the 2012 “Leadership in Agriculture”Award given by the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce.MORE

Arturo Ibleto, a Bella Life in Sonoma County

Arturo Ibleto, who drifted into Petaluma 63 years ago as a penniless immigrant from war-torn Italy, today is one of Sonoma County’s most-beloved and revered citizens, a bigger-than-life character whose outsized personality is matched only by the prodigious portions of pasta he serves.MORE

Sonoma County Fair’s Top Exhibitors Honored at Farm Bureau Foundation’s Awards Dinner

Sonoma County Fair’s cream-of-the-crop took the stage at the Sonoma County 4-H and FFA Awards Dinner where Suzanne Amaral of Sonoma and Michelle McClure of Inverness in Marin County were named the outstanding Sonoma County Fair exhibitors for 2012.MORE

Small-Scale Grain Renaissance in North Coast Region

In 2009, the town of Willits in Mendocino County was one of the first communities to assess its self-sufficiency in terms of food security, and to act on it through the Willits Econo mic Localization program. With funding, an ambitious Americorps VISTA member, and support from the community, 10,000 lbs. of grain were sold the first year to local individuals and restaurants, and four silos built to store grain.MORE

Sonoma County Harvest Fair Entry Guidebooks Available Online

The annual Sonoma County Harvest Fair, home of the world championship grape stomp, is just around the corner and you are invited to participate in this year’s exhibits. You can enter an apple from the tree in your backyard, an elegant table setting, woodcraft, dahlia, or your best zucchini. Much like the Sonoma County Fair, the Harvest Fair hosts several competitive exhibits. This means that, by putting your hobby or skill to work, you could earn a blue ribbon, cash prizes or at the very least free entrance to this year’s event. MORE

CPR / First Aid / AED Training

A series of training courses focusing on CPR, First Aid and AED (Automated External Defibrillator) will be offered in September.The sessions will provide training to respond to accidents and sudden illnesses in emergency medical situations. The Spanish class will be held Tuesday, September 25 and the English class will be on Wednesday, September 26. Both classes are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will be located at Farm Bureau: 3589 Westwind Blvd., Santa Rosa.MORE

Sept. 29 is Deadline for California Farm Bureau’s Photo Contest

The deadline is fast approaching for the 31st annual California Farm Bureau Photo Contest. Entries close Sept. 29. The contest gives amateur photographers who are Farm Bureau members an opportunity to capture photos that best highlight California agriculture. New for 2012, contributing members of the California Bountiful Foundation are also eligible to enter. The Grand Prize winner will earn a cash prize of $500, while prizes will also be awarded to first- and second-place winners in each of five categories. First-place winners will receive $250 and second-place winners will receive $100. MORE

Jim Groverman, the Father of Petaluma’s Popular Roadside Attraction

As the proprietor of Sonoma County’s most popular roadside attraction, Jim Groverman, the farmer behind the Highway 101 corn maze, is the poster guy for “Agritourism” in the North Bay. In fact, Groverman was doing what he calls “Agro-Tainment” long before the word “agritourism” became part of the farming lexicon and a topic at trendy workshops exploring ways to survive in the farming game. Basically, agritourism refers to any income-generating activity conducted on a farm or ranch for the enjoyment and education of visitors. MORE

Rich Thomas Toasted & Roasted as Recipient of the “Leadership in Agriculture” Award

There were 600 people attending the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce’s 40th annual Agribusiness Barbecue where Rich Thomas, the longtime viticulture instructor at Santa Rosa Junior College who became a dynamic force in the Sonoma County wine industry, was honored with the Chamber’s “Leadership in Agriculture” award.MORE

Cooking with Laurie Figone – Fettuccine Al’a Figone

Laurie Figone, who grew up as Laurie Leveroni on her family’s multi-generational dairy ranch nestled in the Marin county hills of rural Novato, this month joins the Sonoma-Marin Farm News as a food columnist. Each month Laurie will offer her award winning recipes and also write about the farmers and artisan food producers she encounters in her travels about the North Bay. Because of her deep roots in the region, Laurie knows many of the farmers and ranchers in Sonoma and Marin counties and will share her stories with readers of the Sonoma-Marin Farm News.MORE

4-H Foundation BBQ Raises $128,000 in Gross Revenues for 4-H Youth

There were 700 people at the 4-H Foundation of Sonoma County’s BBQ and “Fun”draiser held on Sept. 15 at Richard’s Grove and Saralee’s Vineyard in Windsor where more than $128,000 in gross revenues was raised to help support 4-H young activities and the 4-H Center in Rohnert Park.MORE

Valley Ford Cheese Co. Wins Best of Show in Sonoma County Harvest Fair Cheese Competition

Valley Ford Cheese Co., owned and operated by Karen Bianchi Moreda and her son Joe Moreda, took best of show honors for its Fontina in the cheese competition at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair. The top cheese was made from Jersey cow's milk from the Bianchi family’s 640 acre dairy in Valley Ford where 400 cows are milked daily. Karen Moreda, a director of Sonoma County Farm Bureau, founded the Valley Ford Cheese Co. four years to showcase the rich milk from her family’s herd of Jersey cows. MORE

The “Business” of Farming – Transforming the Vision into a Financially Viable Operation

Our Sonoma County ag entrepreneurs are approaching the end of their journey as participants in this first group of the UCCE’s Beginning Farmers & Ranchers training program. Over the past six months, they’ve been exposed to many facets of agriculture, from dairying to hydroponic tomatoes, small scale grains to goat cheese; and have had to face the underbelly of the “running your own business” beast – business planning.MORE

Sonoma Compost: Dishing Dirt to Farms and Gardens

Soil scientist Will Bakx is like a five star chef as he oversees the massive piles of vegetative stew scientifically turned into black gold at Sonoma Compost where green waste from urban yards is transformed into valuable soil products for farms and gardens. Bakx is co-owner, resident scientist and chief compost maker at Sonoma Compost where yard clippings, tree branches and vegetative debris from homes and business throughout the county are transformed into the rich soil additives that are feeding the growing number of organic and sustainably farmed vineyards, orchards and vegetable farms that are part of Sonoma County’s annual $3 billion farming industry. It’s a winning combination and, perhaps, the ultimate in recycling and reuse. MORE

Art Lafranchi Remembered as Sonoma County’s Eloquent Agricultural Ambassador

Art Lafranchi, a pillar of both the agricultural industry and the Sonoma County legal community, is being remembered as a man of many passions whose remarkable life encompassed family, farm, community and the law. Lafranchi, who was 76, died Oct. 14 in a Santa Rosa hospital of heart and kidney failure.MORE

Cooking with Laurie’ visits Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company

In August of 2011, I was approached by the Petaluma Educational Foundation (P.E.F.), asking if I would donate a guest spot on my T.V. show for their annual fund raiser. I was ecstatic to hear that the top bidder was the Giacomini Family of Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company.MORE

Louis M. Foppiano and Foppiano Vineyards Receive “Lifetime Contribution to the Sonoma County Wine Industry” Award at Harvest Fair

Louis M. Foppiano, the general manager of Foppiano Vineyards & Winery, which has been in the Foppiano family since 1896, is the first recipient of the “Lifetime Contribution to Sonoma County Wine Industry.” The award, presented at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair Awards Night, honors a person or family who has made outstanding contributions to the county’s wine industry. MORE

Maintaining Livestock Grazing Amid New Water Quality Regulations

The San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board (Regional Board) has adopted new regulations for grazing lands greater than 100 acres within the Napa River and Sonoma Creek watersheds. The conditional waiver for grazing operations (grazing waiver) is part of a larger program to reduce the amount of sediments, pathogens and nutrients in Sonoma Creek and Napa River that impair water quality and limit beneficial uses.MORE

Bayer CropScience Mobile Lab Coming to Sonoma County

Come learn that there is a WAY to achieve better yields and healthier plants through smarter, better science. Explore the latest in bio-solutions by visiting Bayer CropScience’s mobile laboratory. Friday, November 16, 2012 from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. Windsor Golf Course · Charlie’s Grill 1320 19th Hole Drive · Windsor, CA 95492. By attending you can also register for your chance to win a 55” Samsung® LED HDTV!MORE

Pesticide Applicator Workshop: Dogs, Rodents and Regulations

Sonoma County Farm Bureau is holding an Applicator Workshop from 8 a.m. until 12 noon, December 11th.The Workshop, will cover information including the utilization of dogs for avian pest control in vineyards and environmentally friendly systems to control gophers and other rodents. It will also cover pesticide safety regulations and required hazardous materials procedures.MORE

WHEEL Program – English Learning Offered

Sonoma County Farm Bureau is partnering with the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce to provide an English Learning Program for agricultural employees. The WHEEL Program is designed to increase English language skills. The program classes will be held starting Jan. 7th from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and there is no cost for the program. MORE

Oak Hill Farm Crafts Wreaths That Are Uniquely Sonoma County

The old Red Barn at Oak Hill Farm in Glen Ellen is beginning to look a lot like Christmas as busy workers twist and tie elegant wreaths for the holidays. It’s a familiar scene at other Sonoma County barn stores that offer goodies gleaned from nature or grown on the farm. Oak Hill Farm’s all-natural wreaths are made from materials gathered and grown at the 700-acre ranch nestled at the base of the Mayacamas Mountains.MORE

Chris Barrett, Wine Country’s Rising Star

Chris Barrett is a 35-year-old Wine Country wunderkind and rising star. The unassuming, self-taught winemaker at Pezzi King Vineyards in Healdsburg crafted two of the three sweepstakes winning wines at this year’s Sonoma County Harvest Fair.MORE

Pasta King Art Ibleto Honored

Honors and accolades continue to be heaped on Art Ibleto, the famed Pasta King who has made community service a way of life in his adopted Sonoma County. Ibleto, who is 86, is an iconic Sonoma County businessman and farmer who has spread goodwill while dishing up his signature pasta and polenta dishes at the Sonoma County Fair, community events and the charitable dinners he hosts.MORE

“Beginning Farmers” Complete Nine Month Agricultural Development Program

Certificates were awarded on Nov. 16 to 17 people who completed the Sonoma County Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program held at SRJC. The program instructed these beginning farmers and ranchers on how to build, operate and manage successful enterprises in the increasingly difficult environment of Sonoma County agriculture.MORE

‘Cooking with Laurie’ The Golden Spurtle Competition

Some of you may or may not know what a spurtle is…I just found out last August, when I won Bob’s Red Mill ‘Spar for the Spurtle’ national recipe contest. A spurtle is a wooden stick that is traditionally used to stir porridge in Scotland. And speaking of Scotland…my prize for winning the ‘Spar for the Spurtle’ contest was an all-expenses paid trip to Scotland to compete in the 19th Annual World Porridge Making Championships and $2,500.MORE

Ag Ambassadors Host “Thank a Farmer” Lunch for 600

Thanksgiving came a couple of days early on the Santa Rosa Junior College campus when members of the college’s Ag Ambassadors hosted a free lunch for 600 students and faculty as a way to celebrate Sonoma County farmers and ranchers.MORE

Farm Bureau Wine Discounts: Welcomes the Kendall-Jackson Family Estate

Sonoma County Farm Bureau welcomes the Kendall-Jackson Family Estate Wineries as partners of the Members Only Wine Discount program. Take a look at Sonoma County Farm Bureau's Member Only Wine Discount Program for 2012. With over 50 premium local Sonoma County wineries to choose from.MORE

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The Delicate Balancing Act of Farming

Kevin McEnnis began farming ten acres of City of Santa Rosa land in 1999. He named it “Quetzal Farm” after Guatemala’s beautiful national bird, where he had planted his first garden. MORE

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Sonoma County Fair’s 75th Anniversary Diamond Jubilee A Fair to Remember.

The Sonoma County Fair’s 75th anniversary Diamond Jubilee was certainly a fair to remember, a three week celebration that showcased agriculture, community and the fair’s enduring role as the glittering thread in the county’s social fabricMORE

Domenic Carinalli Honored for his “Lifetime Contribution to Sonoma County Agriculture.

Domenic Carinalli, 70, a lifelong dairy rancher and respected agricultural leader for a half century, is being honored by the Sonoma County Harvest Fair with the fair’s “Lifetime Contribution to Sonoma County Agriculture” Award.MORE

Sonoma County Fair’s Top Exhibitors Honored at Farm Bureau Foundation’s Awards Dinner.

Sonoma County Fair’s Top Exhibitors Honored at Farm Bureau Foundation’s Awards Dinner.MORE

Rich and Saralee Kunde Inducted into the Sonoma County Business Hall of Fame.

Rich and Saralee Kunde, regarded my many as the first couple of Sonoma County agriculture, are being inducted into the Sonoma County Business Hall of Fame for their many contributions to the economic, cultural and civic life of Sonoma County.MORE

California Ag Secretary is Keynote Speaker at State of Agriculture Address in Santa Rosa

To RSVP please download: State of Agriculture Address RSVP Form.pdf Please fax completed form to 707.544.7452 or email. The key issues facing California agriculture will be explored by the state’s two top farm leaders at Sonoma County Farm Bureau’s first ever State of Agriculture Address to be held from 8 a.m. to noon on Nov. 1 at the Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building.   California Secretary of Agriculture Karen Ross, a dedicated advocate for the agricultural industry and the state’s farmers, is the keynote speaker Continue reading →MORE

Hit the Pumpkin Trail in Sonoma County

Fall has been described as the most habitable season of the year and that description certainly holds true in Sonoma County where the agricultural bounty offers a comforting cornucopia of sensual delights.MORE

Young Leaders Learn that Milk and Eggs Are Still Petaluma’s Bread and Butter

Petaluma area students had an “Ah-ha” moment when they learned that the Petaluma area produces more eggs today than it did in the 1940’s when the tiny town held the title “Egg Capital of the World.” The lesson: there are still lots of chickens and eggs around Petaluma.MORE

Brent Young, Rising Star in Wine Country

Brent Young’s dusty boots show his passion for the pursuit of perfect grapes at Jordan Winery and Vineyards in the Alexander Valley. The Jordan Winery viticulturist walks the estate’s 225 acres of vineyards twice a week, studying the overall health of the thousands of vines under his careful watch.MORE

4-H Foundation’s BBQ Attracts 600 People and Raises $100,000 in Gross Revenues

There were more than 600 people at the 4-H Foundation of Sonoma County’s Barbecue held on Sept. 17 at Richard’s Grove and Saralee’s Vineyard in Windsor where more than $100,000 in gross revenues was raised.MORE

Valley Ford Cheese Carves a Niche on the Bianchi Family Dairy

Sonoma County dairywoman Karen Bianchi-Moreda had a great story, she just needed the business to go with it. In fact, she said, it was her family’s story of survival, hard work and perseverance that compelled her to start a farm business that showcases her ancestors’ rich history of life on the land in the Sonoma-Marin Dairy Belt.MORE

Willie Bird Turkeys Take Flight for the Holiday

On the Monday before Thanksgiving, 9,000 Willie Bird turkeys from Sonoma County will get on planes for flights around the country, arriving in homes from Seattle to Baltimore in time to be stuffed and roasted for the holiday meal on Nov. 24.MORE

California Ag Leaders Call for Farmer Unity to Meet Challenges Ahead

California’s two top farm leaders said small farmers, large farmers, conventional farmers and organic farmers all have a place in the state’s $37 billion annual farming industry and that every farmer is needed to feed a growing world population that now exceeds 7 billion people.MORE

Business Members Assist In Preserving and Protecting Sonoma County Ag

Sonoma County Farm Bureau's Business Members are a network of agriculture friendly businesses who support the Farm Bureau in preserving and protecting Sonoma County agriculture. Utilize this business directory when in need of new equipment and or services. Please note some of the businesses provide great Farm Bureau member only discounts!MORE

Sonoma County Farms Offer Fresh Trees, Family Fun and Holiday Tradition

  It’s the time of year to pack up the kids to scout the hills and dales of Sonoma County for the perfect Christmas tree to string with lights and garland. There are more than a dozen choose-and-cut tree farms in Sonoma County, with most of the farms concentrated west of Petaluma and in the hills around Sebastopol. Over the last decade there has been a big drop in Christmas tree production at the choose-and-cut tree farms as older tree farmers retired and land was Continue reading →MORE

Sonoma County Farm Bureau’s Italy Trip Raffle

Supporting our youth and encouraging their interest in agricultural education is one of the most important missions of our organization and we need your help. Purchase your tickets for our 6th Annual Ag Education Raffle featuring an 11 day Italian Vacation for 2 where you will tour Rome, Florence and the Chianti countryside with a week in your own private Tuscan Villa!MORE

Art Weyers Remembered as a True Friend of Sonoma County Agriculture

The Sonoma County agriculture community is mourning – and fondly remembering – Art Weyers III, who was the owner of Art Weyers Insurance and a staunch supporter of the Sonoma County farmers and ranchers whom he considered friends as well as clients.MORE

Longtime Farming Couple Enriches Sonoma County Agriculture

On a national level, the average age of farmers and ranchers is 57 and rising. We need to encourage our youth – the next generation, to take over the reins, plows, discs and all other farm implements to grow our food. I can’t think of a better couple to showcase when it comes to longevity, perseverance, and pluck than Terry and Carolyn Harrison, who have been a staple of Sonoma county agriculture since they began farming in 1974.MORE

Make it a Country Christmas, Sonoma County Style

This Christmas avoid stuffy department stores with their monstrous piles of cheaply made goods from overseas and head to the country – Sonoma County Farm Country to do your holiday shopping. You will be giving the gift of genuine concern not only for those on your Christmas list but local agricultural businesses.MORE

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To represent, protect and advance the social, economic and educational interests of the farmers and ranchers of Sonoma County.