By Doug Beretta, President
One of the things I hear over and over is that the Farm Bureau needs to tell their story better and that we need to talk about things we do and have accomplished. For those of us on the SCFB board, we see all of the hard work that gets done by staff and board members so it is hard for me to understand what people mean. We have tried putting updates in Farm News, using social media to send out accomplishments to members and non-members, but for some reason people either don’t read them or don’t see the importance of the issues. However, we continue to seek ways to tell our story that resonates with members.
This brings me to my thoughts of telling our own stories as agriculturists, business owners etc. We have to start thinking differently about agriculture as we know and love it today. We need to be proud of what we do and how we do it. We have to figure out a way to tell our story and not be afraid to answer tough questions when people ask. If we do this, we won’t be playing on the defensive side to issues and ballot initiatives that come up. If we tell our story loud and proud our supporters and neighbors will understand when and why we are pushing back on or supporting issues. I believe we need to educate the public about where their food comes from and how we have changed and adapted our businesses to better the world we live in. They need to understand what a safe local source of food really is, and without it how much worse Sonoma County would be. It is incumbent upon us to explain why by telling our story.
As we get results from initial polling, economic studies, and analysis, we are going to need to lean on and share this information with the general public, our local business partners, and our elected officials. My hope is if we tell our story before issues arise from the people that believe agriculture is bad then the rest of the people will look at them and laugh. Each time I speak before a group I always remind them what is at the top of the list of identifiers in the middle of the Sonoma County Seal: AGRICULTURE.
Moving into 2024 and beyond let’s all try to do a better job of telling our story. Talk about the employees that have been on our farms for years. The benefits agriculture businesses have to the scenery that we have enjoyed for generations. We know that change will come but we have to keep reminding our neighbors and especially newcomers that agriculture is the cornerstone of our county’s fabric so without it, this place would be and look a heck of a lot different. We must tell our story through transparency and education in an effort to keep agriculture strong and viable in Sonoma County.