Safety courses and workshops for agriculture and related industries are organized to address regulation, current issues, and business practices for the labor force and employers. Topics include labor laws, human resources, pesticide application, CPR and First Aid, forklift and other vehicle operations, farm manager training, electrical safety, etc. Courses are conducted in English and Spanish and are held at Sonoma County Farm Bureau. Custom, onsite training is also available. Reservations are required for all trainings.
The California Tiger Salamander (CTS) Safe Harbor Program is a voluntary program available to certain properties identified as located in Critical CTS Habitat, or as identified in the 2016 Sonoma County CTS DPS Recovery Plan.
In June of 2022, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the North Bay Water District executed an agreement to create this program in order to enhance and restore CTS habitat and survival, and to protect grape growers performing legal farming activities.
Participating landowners of qualifying properties agree to use specified best management practices on their land to provide restoration or enhancement of CTS habitat. Participating landowners will be issued an Enhancement of Survival Permit that will allow them to conduct legal vinicultural activities (such as replanting and ongoing farming operations) and will protect them from third-party claims should an incidental “take” of a CTS occur while conducting these activities.
Sonoma County Farm Bureau was recently awarded a Conservation Board Block Grant to Reduce Drought Impacts from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). This grant creates a number of mini-grant opportunities to certain properties that are located at or near four priority coho salmon stream tributaries to the Russian River: Green Valley Creek, Mark West Creek, Dutch Bill Creek and Mill Creek. These tributaries historically have flow issues and go dry during drought, threatening the survival of coho salmon and steelhead.
The purpose of the mini-grants are to construct water pumping and release infrastructure to private property owners so they can release water into these priority coho salmon stream tributaries when they are dry and fish are at risk. Once the infrastructure is in place, upon request from CDFW, water releases are to be made from an existing groundwater well or pond into the tributary.
Only qualifying landowners may participate.
In 2017, the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board (Water Board) adopted a water quality control permit (General Permit) for vineyard properties in the Napa River and Sonoma Creek watersheds.
The General Permit regulates parcels developed to include a 5-acre-or-larger vineyard that are located in these two watersheds. All vineyard parcels subject to the General Permit – regardless of slope of the planted area – must achieve performance standards for soil erosion in the farm area, and for discharge of nutrients and pesticides.
As you know, the Sonoma County Farm Bureau works diligently to protect the rights and interests of Sonoma County’s agricultural community. For many years, we have met with the regional water board and other interested parties and worked to limit the impact of the Vineyard General Permit. While we were not able to eliminate the need for it, we have taken on the role of fee collector to protect our agricultural community and significantly reduce the expense and impact that this state-mandated program will have on your property.
Without the Sonoma County Farm Bureau taking on this role, property owners would be required to pay significantly more in fees to the state water board.
With the Farm Bureau’s fee administration and oversight of this program, we save our members thousands of dollars, eliminate the need for other laborious requirements, and ensure a high compliance rate by taking on the work ourselves.
The Sonoma-Marin Young Farmers & Ranchers program includes participants between the ages of 18-35. The Young Farmers & Ranchers program aims to surface, grow and develop young Farm Bureau members and provide them with opportunities and experiences to strengthen their leadership.
The program is focused on personal growth in the following areas:
- public speaking
- issue advocacy
- business development
- service leadership
- media training
- telling the story of agriculture