Sonoma County Farm Bureau held its annual Premium Member Lunch on Wednesday May 10th. Approximately 50 guests gathered at Dutton Lake for lunch and to meet with influencers of agricultural policy.
Jamie Johansson, 1st Vice President of California Farm Bureau Federation, spoke to guests about agricultural issues at the state level. Johansson is a first generation olive and citrus farmer from Oroville and got into farming by choice. Johansson talked about how important membership in Farm Bureau is as the organization is doing work that farmer and ranchers don’t have the time or resources to do alone.
Shirlee Zane, Chair of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, spoke about the current state of the county and local issues affecting Sonoma County. Zane talked about the incubator farm project and how the project’s goal is providing a means for new farmers to get involved in the ag industry.
“Agriculture is an integral part of Sonoma County,” said Supervisor Zane. “The industry is important to the community and it’s essential that we work to support our farmers and ranchers.”
Zippy Duvall, President of American Farm Bureau Federation, was a surprise guest for the day traveling to California from Washington D.C. Duvall, a Georgia Farmer, spoke about his experience meeting with President Trump to talk about the United States agriculture industry and his involvement working with the current White House administration.
Duvall recalled receiving a call from presidential nominee Donald Trump last year after he was elected as the President of AFBF. “We talked about the issues that are facing agriculture in a very calm, relaxed tone of voice – very businesslike – and I was impressed.”
Discussing his recent meeting with the President, the secretary of agriculture and 14 other representatives of the ag industry, Duvall said they covered four different topics the group had predetermined to be important to agriculture including trade, farm labor, infrastructure and the average age of the farmer and how to bring people back to the farm. Duvall also talked about the importance of staying engaged.
“The more we can talk to the people around us, the more we can get them to understand we are a Farm Bureau family at the county, the state and the national level. Together we can make some really good things happen. But if we all try to do it on our own, we will fail. Unity and engagement is what it’s all about. We’ve got to get our neighbors engaged.
“If we disengage from this process right now, we will miss the greatest opportunity in our lifetime to change the future of agriculture and the opportunity to prepare it for our children and grandchildren to carry on. To do this, I have to get you, your neighbors, your friends and anyone who cares about the food they eat or agriculture to be engaged. Engaged with the county, engaged with the state and engaged with the American Farm Bureau.”
Duvall spoke about newly appointed Secretary Perdue, someone he has known for a long time, saying he has all the qualities to make him the best Secretary of Agriculture who has served. Perdue is only one of four Secretaries of Agriculture to farm in his adult life – the 26 other secretaries representing the agriculture industry never farmed as an adult.
“I really appreciate your efforts to put this type of group together. It shows your dedication to the organization and to agriculture.”
The Premium Member lunch also hosted Paul Wenger, President of the California Farm Bureau Federation; Ryan Yates, Director of Congressional Relations for the American Farm Bureau Federation; Clark Becker, Butte County Farm Bureau President; and nearly 40 more of Sonoma County Farm Bureau’s most influential agricultural producers.
Upgrade your Farm Bureau membership today for your invite to our next Premium event. For more information call Sonoma County Farm Bureau at 707-544-5575.
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