2018 EDITIONS

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

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

DeBernardis Honored as Farm Family of the Year

The family farm, the idyllic symbol of American life that politicians and policymakers always pledge to preserve, is alive and well – even flourishing - on an organic dairy in the Two Rock Valley west of Petaluma. MORE

Farm Labor Shortages Continue to Plague California’s Ag Industry

Results of a voluntary online survey conducted by the California Farm Bureau Federation’s (CFBF) Federal Policy Division eight months ago showed that farmers and ranchers in every California region reported continuing difficulty in finding enough workers for planting, cultivating and harvesting food and other crops. This trend is continuing, and for some, it is a major concern. MORE

Protecting and Promoting Our Viticulture and Agriculture

For the second time, I was honored to be invited by the Sonoma County Wine Growers to attend the Congressional Wine Caucus in Washington, D.C. last month to help educate members of congress about the California wine industry and specifically to keep Sonoma County’s agricultural heritage at top of mind with our government leaders. MORE

Keeping your Business, Property, Livestock and Crops Safe

Over the years I’ve noticed a negative trend in the way activists, specifically animal rights activists, conduct their protests; more aggressive, theatrical, often destructive or violent, and more about the “action” than the “cause” the group hopes to address. MORE

Vineyards and Vineyard Management Firms Are Using More H-2A Certified Farm Workers

Grape growers and vineyard management firms are among Ag industry’s leaders in the North Bay when it comes to providing worker housing and hiring H-2A guest agricultural workers. MORE

Farm Bureau Member Profile: Meet Exchange Bank

“From generation to generation, we invest in people, business and community to build a strong future.” Exchange Bank Mission Statement MORE

NOTES FROM THE SONOMA COUNTY AG COMMISIONER

A Call to Arms From my perspective, the single biggest threat we face to sustainably producing high quality winegrapes in Sonoma County is the proliferation of the vine mealybug. MORE

Growing Ag Education

Educating our potential young farmers and agri-business leaders is critical to ensure the sustainability of agriculture in Sonoma County. MORE

Shone Farm – An update from the field

For nearly 50 years, Santa Rosa Junior College’s Shone Farm has been the intersection between farming and education in Sonoma County. In fact, Shone Farm is one of the most unique agricultural learning labs in the country, offering students an opportunity to engage hands-on in a full range of farming experiences and sustainable and organic research opportunities. MORE

It is the “Lull Before the Trade War Storm” Since Tariff Battles Take Time to Heat Up

Farmers across the nation, as well as in Sonoma and Marin Counties, are wondering why they have not seen major price/cost hikes fueled by tariff increases imposed by other nations on the U.S. MORE

FARM BUREAU’S FUTURE

On Thursday, July 12 Farm Bureau hosted over 900 attendees for the 10th Annual Love of the Land celebration at the Jackson Family’s Richard’s Grove. MORE

The Sweet Smell of Fairtime is in the Air!

Days are warm, school is out, summer break is upon us, and it’s fair season. Fairs are happening all over the country, and here in Sonoma County we are not short of the opportunity to experience a slice of Americana. MORE

Member Profile – Novavine

Although he grew up in Wine Country, when Ellen Heath’s son, Jay Jensen, went off to study engineering and International Relations at WestPoint, he never imagined he would end up farming some of the world’s finest grape vine stock! MORE

Combating Suspicious Activity in Rural Sonoma County

Catching bad guys in the act of commuting crimes in rural Sonoma County is a tough task. Criminals look for crimes of opportunity which usually means there is no one around to witness them. MORE

Invasive Ant Species Intercepted

The Department of Agriculture/Weights & Measures inspects incoming packages at the FedEx facility in Petaluma. MORE

Soil Health

The media has given lots of attention to soils recently, with numerous news outlets talking about the role soil can play in making our entire planet more vibrant and resilient to weather extremes. MORE

Hawkes Family Shares Three Generations Worth of Sonoma County Fair Memories

Charlie and Ella Hawkesd'granddaughter, Rebecca, beamed as she shook the judged' hand and received a first-place ribbon in Junior Sheep Showmanship at the 2018 Sonoma County Fair. Her family, ringside, applauded and wore expressions of pride as they watched as the hard work their 3rd generation family member put into her 4-H project paid off. MORE

Interior secretary visits reservoirs hit by flows plan

Amid a flood of concern regarding a state proposal to divert more water to the ocean, a Cabinet secretary visited two of the affected reservoirs and a Central Valley congressman offered a pair of amendments aimed at the diversions. MORE

Celebrating Sonoma County Agriculture – Then, Now, and Tomorrow

After the devastating fires last October and the continued hardship faced by our friends in surrounding counties, there is something that feels refreshingly normal and renewing about the harvest season upon us. MORE

September 2018 Editorial

Urban growth boundaries, city limits and open pastures may separate city dwellers from country folk, but we should not let those physical barriers stop us from educating city leaders about agriculture. MORE

Member Profile- Vintage Tree Care, Fred Frey

Vintage Tree Care owner Fred Frey has lived in Sonoma County all his life. His family roots are firmly planted in the county—his daughter marks the 5th generation Frey. MORE

2017 Sonoma County Crop Report

The 2017 Sonoma County Crop Report was presented to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, August 14, 2018, by Sue Ostrom, Assistant Agricultural Commissioner. MORE

FALL AGRICULTURAL PLASTIC RECYCLING EVENT

The collection site is at the Sonoma County Healdsburg Corporation Yard located on Alexander Valley Road in Healdsburg. This event is open to growers, nurseries, pest control businesses, golf courses, parks, and government agencies. MORE

Cover Crops, Tillage and Lessons Learned from Ridge Vineyards

It is time to get prepared for winter and plant your cover crop. To promote optimal growth, it is best to plant by the end of October, or sooner if possible, while the soil is still warm, and before substantial rains arrive. MORE

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Premium Members

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