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. I want to thank everyone who helped with the event, and also State Fund who helped sponsor the night. I am thankful to the board who provided many great raffle prizes and to all of you who attended and supported the raffle. I hope everyone had a wonderful time.
Many of you by now may have received a letter from the county about a new ordinance being created for Streamside Conservation Areas. This is something mandated by the CWP (Countywide Plan) and we knew was going to eventually get here. So much of the hard work that Farm Bureau put into the CWP many years ago is going to help here. There are exemptions for agricultural practices, agricultural accessory structures, and tree removal on agricultural land. Since this ordinance is in its early stages, we will have the chance to make it even better for agriculture. The county is looking for our input and I have been working with Suzanne Thorsen at the county to make sure the language in the ordinance will not be problematic for ranchers. But it would be great for all of you to make your voices heard if you have concerns. If you have questions please don’t hesitate to call.
For over five years now I have been very blessed to serve as President of this organization. Getting to work with many wonderful people locally and at the state level in Farm Bureau as well as with all of our elected officials has been an incredibly rewarding experience. I have learned a great deal about compromise and how to work with people of opposing views to accomplish important goals. It seems that agriculture is constantly under attack from regulations that are pushed on us by groups who really don’t understand what it is we do to survive in agriculture and provide food for them. Being President has given me the opportunity to work with and educate these people to create policies that are less cumbersome on us. The relationships that I have formed with all of our Supervisors and other elected officials have been extremely important. By building these friendships Farm Bureau has more credibility and a much stronger voice not just politically but in our community as a whole.
Five years ago when I became President I said that I wanted to unify Marin’s agricultural community, while I may not have been completely successful, I am proud of what the past five years have yielded.
As this is my last article I want to say how appreciative I am of all who have supported me along the way. While this has been an extremely rewarding journey it has required thousands of hours and hundreds of meetings over the years. I am very thankful for all the hard work my father has put into the dairy while I am seemingly gone for portions of the day at least three or four times a week. Without him it is hard to say where our dairy would be right now. I am also very thankful to have worked with such a fine Board over the years and Leslie Klein who has kept the office running for Farm Bureau.
My wife and children without a doubt have made the largest sacrifice though. This has also been the part that weighs on me the most. As any parent knows, it is difficult when you can’t be with your family, especially when you are going to a meeting that you would really rather not be at. Yet there love and support has never wavered and that is what kept me going all these years. I am looking forward to more baseball and softball games with my kids, helping coach if I can, helping them with 4-H projects and showing at the fairs.
I hope I have not let anyone down I have tried my best, but it is time for me to move forward and welcome Sam Dolcini as the next president of Marin County Farm Bureau. I bid you a final farewell and thank you all for your support.