Working For You
Sonoma County Farm Bureau values our members and works hard to support local agriculture, keeping it viable in the county by protecting the industry from over regulation and continuing to educate the general public and farmers alike. We want to take this opportunity to share a small snippet of what Sonoma County Farm Bureau has done to protect and promote agriculture over the last year.
Annual Impressions by Category
Events & Outreach: 364,850
Social Media: 200,000 per month
Annual Total Impressions: 3,663,774
Groundwater Sustainability Agencies:
Tawny has been meeting individually with county supervisors and the GSA staff to correct irrigation use data being used to access fees and to encourage the County’s financial support for Santa Rosa Plain Groundwater Sustainability Agency
City of Santa Rosa Reclaimed Water, Ag User Contracts
The City of Santa Rosa has been working with local farmers to develop a standard agreement for the use of reclaimed water. SCFB members Doug Beretta, Kathy Reese, and Domenic Carinalli serve as ag representatives on an Ad Hoc committee.
Farm Bureau advocated for a one-year reprieve from the City of Santa Rosa Reclaimed Water Ag User contract fee implementation. In essence, we pushed for no fees charged to any ag water users in 2020, even those currently paying fees. This one-year extension would give farmers an opportunity to plan for the pending costs and give the city staffers time to confirm the accuracy of meters and to repair equipment
Potter Valley Project:
The Sonoma County Farm Bureau continues to work with Mendocino County Farm Bureau as the Potter Valley Project re-licensing process unfolds.
In April we hosted a Potter Valley Project Information Forum for nearly 75 attendees.
Ag + Open Space – Vital Lands Initiative:
Although we are unsure of how the Vital Lands Initiative is going, we feel that agriculture’s interest should be represented as much as possible in shaping the acquisition or management of conservation easements on ag land. Therefore, SCFB President Jeff Carlton, Board Member Joe Pozzi, and Executive Director Tawny Tesconi serve on the Ag Industry Committee and are informing the draft Vital Lands Initiative.
Onsite Waste Treatment Systems:
The County of Sonoma is updating County regulations for septic systems (OWTS Manual) in order to meet the state-mandated policy that protects water quality and public health. Sonoma County Farm Bureau representatives have met with Permit Sonoma staff outlining various concerns we have with the new manual.
SCFB presented suggestions for changes to 9 program areas that would make them more fitting for landowners. The Supervisors agreed to take all 9 suggestions into consideration.
Proposed Amendments to General Plan Open Space and Resource Conservation Element to Include Scenic Resource (SR) Zoning Changes:
The Sonoma County Planning Commission announced agenda item PLP16-0006 set to be discussed at the May 16 Sonoma County Planning Commission meeting. The agenda item contained amendments to the General Plan Open Space and Resource Conservation Element to expand designated Scenic Landscape Units to include over 3,000 parcels in northern Sonoma County. Many of the impacted parcels are working lands that are owned and/or operated by Farm Bureau members.
On May 14, SCFB President Jeff Carlton sent a letter to the Sonoma County Planning Commission expressing our concerns with the proposed amendment
On April 1, President Jeff Carlton submitted letter to the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors expressing Sonoma County Farm Bureau’s opposition to an agenda action item proposing a moratorium on industrial hemp cultivation.
SCFB has continued involvement in the drafting and implementation of any regulatory, zoning or permitting requirements that are imposed regarding hemp cultivation in Sonoma County.
Tawny is a member of the Hemp Advisory Group
General Waste Discharge Requirements for Dairies in the North Coast Region:
The General Waste Discharge Requirements for Dairies in the North Coast Region are currently in the process of being updated. SCFB Board Member Doug Beretta has been working with the Water Board, the Western United Dairy Association and other local organizations throughout the County to represent the interests of the agriculture industry throughout this process.
Russian River TMDL Action Plan & Staff Report:
Executive Director Tesconi submitted comments at the end of June in response to the TMDL Action Plan. She called out that much of their concern associated with dairy runoff into the Russian River was base on a hypothesis not in science and that dairies were not being treated fairly in the plan
Bay Area Air Quality Management District, Organic Material Handling – Compost Operations Regulations:
The BAAQMD released a draft of their ordinance governing small compost operations and onsite compost activities.
Director Tesconi submitted comments regarding the onerous tone of the proposed regulations and President Jeff Carlton signed a multi-agency coalition letter that offered a redline version of the regulations.
Support for the Removal of Z Zoning Restriction
President Jeff Carlton sent a letter to the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors in September opposing the removal of the Z Zoning restriction, which would limit an ag property owner's right to build a 1200 sq., ft. ADU on their property.
On March 12 & 13 we hosted 4,500 students at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds for Ag Days.
For many, the most exciting part of the event is getting to see and touch all kinds of animals, including large livestock. With students from all backgrounds coming to attend Ag Days, Sonoma County Farm Bureau hopes they will take their knowledge home and share it with family and friends. It takes a village to put on this event and educate so many children about where their food comes from. Thank you to all the volunteers who participated in the event and the sponsors who made the event possible.
Tomorrow’s Leaders Today
SCFB helped to coordinate the Tomorrow’s Leaders Today Ag Days on October 15 & 17 for 100 high school juniors from across the county. Students participated in tours of the DeBernardi Dairy, Neve Bros., The Great Peter Pumpkin Patch, and enjoyed lunch at Dutton Ranch.
Executive Director Tawny Tesconi spoke participated in the Leadership Santa Rosa Ag Panel.
Executive Director Tawny Tesconi went on local radio stations several times to promote Sonoma County agriculture and advocacy efforts
California Ag in the Classroom Conference
SCFB staff assisted in the planning and implementation of the California Ag in the Classroom State Conference as it was held in Sonoma County.
We hosted the Kincade Fire Recovery Resources Workshop, which had over 50 attendees
SCFB hosted 3 member mixers
We hosted over 30 trainings and many community partners and organizations used our event space for over workshops, trainings, and events throughout the year.
SCFB has a strong social media presence to promote agriculture and Sonoma County Farm Bureau events and efforts
We have over 4,000 followers and have an average monthly reach of over 200,000.
The Sonoma-Marin Farm News is mailed to about 2,500 to members and community partners each month
We continue to work with about 15 community partners to get relevant, timely, and interesting local content for the newspaper
California Farm Bureau Federation 100
th Annual Meeting
Sonoma County Farm Bureau board members and staff attended the California Farm Bureau Federation 100th Annual Meeting December 4-7 in San Diego.
We produced a 16-page insert called The Face of Farming that includes examples of the many ways local farmers and ranchers are good stewards of the land. The Face of Farming was read by 190,000 people.
Animal Rights Protest
On Monday, June 4, hundreds of activists from the animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere’s (DXE) Animal Liberation Conference were bussed to Reichardt Duck Farm in Petaluma, CA.
After a DXE spokesperson went on the KSRO Morning News Show, on Wednesday, June 5, Executive Director Tawny Tesconi did the same and spoke with host Pat Kerrigan to advocate for Sonoma County farmers and ranchers. The video recording of the interview reached 50,000 people on Facebook.
We hosted the 30
th Annual Great Sonoma Crab & Wine Fest at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds on Saturday, February 2. New this year, 2,500 attendees enjoyed a reception in the Hall of Flowers before dinner and the live auction in Grace Pavilion. California Farm Bureau Federation Roadshow
We helped to plan and facilitate the CFBF Roadshow on May 2 at the Flamingo Conference Resort & Spa. 75 attendees listed to CFBF President Jamie Johansson deliver a keynote address and learned from CFBF staff members about the main issues facing agriculturalists today. CFBF’s Governmental Affairs, Federal Policy, and Legal divisions staff members hosted sessions on a wide variety of topics from water, air quality, and food safety to forest management.
We hosted 18
th Annual Golf Tournament on Friday, June 7, at the Windsor Golf Club CFBF Centennial at the Capitol
California Farm Bureau hosted a celebration of its centennial year at the State Capitol on Wednesday, June 26. SCFB hosted a booth which featured the bounty of Sonoma County’s agricultural industry.
Premium Member Luncheon:
On June 27, we hosted the Premium Member Luncheon at the beautiful Pozzi Ranch. Guests enjoyed a delicious lunch provided by Park Avenue Catering and Supervisor Rabbitt spoke.
Love of the Land
On July 11, almost 1,000 attendees joined us to celebrate our collective love of the land at Richard’s Grove and Saralee’s Vineyard.
Farm Family of the Year: Sanchietti Family
Luther Burbank Conservation Award: Doug Beretta, Beretta Family Dairy
Friend of Farm Bureau Award: Western Farm Center
Farm Bureau Hall of Fame Award: Tito Sasaki
Special thank you to the Jackson Family for generously allowing us to use such a beautiful venue for our celebration.
The SCFB staff helped the Sonoma County Fair to coordinate the Cattle Drive on August 4 and sponsored Farmers Day at the Fair.
Gravenstein Apple Fair
Sonoma County Farm Bureau sponsored the Life on The Farm Area at the Gravenstein Apple. Brytann Busick hosted a booth where she passed out organic Gravenstein Apples from Dutton Ranch, did a kid’s apple craft activity and talked to the public about agriculture.
Advocating for Agriculture Friendly Policy
Participated in advisory committee meetings on rural broadband strategic planning for Sonoma County
Attended cannabis advisory committee meetings
Participated in pre-planning meetings on the Russian River Confluence
Attended the Sheriff’s candidate forum
Reviewed and discussed staff recommendations on vacation rentals within Protected Agriculture Land (LIA) with Sonoma County Planning Agency
Attended the Board of Zoning Appeals meeting in support of the Ramey Winery permit application
Attended the meeting of re-licensing the PG&E Potter Valley Project in Ukiah
Facilitated a Santa Rosa water contracts meeting on use of reclaimed municipal water
Monitored developments on the Williamson Act
Animal Resources Committee met to discuss the water quality monitoring program administered by SCFB and discuss water quality with representatives from other organizations and local dairies
Partnering to Build Stronger Relationships with Other Ag Organizations
Met with the Sonoma County Sheriff’s office on crimes in agricultural and rural Sonoma County and how to enhance cooperation
Executive committees of Sonoma County Farm Bureau and the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission met to discuss areas of mutual concern and cooperation
Participated in the agricultural workshop for the Vital Lands Initiative by the Sonoma County Ag and Open Space District
Attended a trip organized by Los Cien Sonoma County Latino Leaders to the Consulate General of Mexico in San Francisco
Partnered with the Healthcare Foundation of Sonoma County to host a seminar on Working with Employers to support Employees and Their Families
Participated in Ranch Readiness Day put on by the HALTER project
Sponsored the live auction at the 2017 Agstravaganza to support the SRJC Foundation Ag Trust Committee
Promoting Agriculture in the Community
Sponsored the Life on The Farm Area at the Gravenstein Apple Fair and Farm Bureau staff attended both days of the Gravenstein Apple Fair to pass out gravensteins, facilitate a kid’s apple craft activity and talk to the public about agriculture
Sponsored a booth at the Lake Sonoma Steelhead Festival
Gave presentations to the Healdsburg Rotary, Sunrise Breakfast Club and Culinary Institute of America about agriculture
Attended the Sonoma County Department of Ag’s Applicator Workshop and offered information about Farm Bureau and services offered
Sponsored a tree at the Windsor Christmas Tree Grove and decorated it with educational agriculture facts
Communicating Agriculture’s Message
Modernized the Sonoma County Farm Bureau website and redesigned it to be more user friendly
Communicated Farm Bureau’s message through our social and e-communication platforms including launching weekly e-blasts to better inform our membership
Fielded media calls throughout the year and spoke to the media as an authoritative source on local agriculture
Participated in a live interview with KCBS 740 AM regarding displaced livestock and horses in Sonoma County after the wildfires
Celebrating 100 Years of Farm Bureau
Hosted nearly 200 people at an open house and centennial celebration
Recognized by the Agricultural Heritage Club for our 100 year commitment to agriculture
Told the stories of ten families farming on the same land in Sonoma County for 100 years
Ensuring a Future for the Next Generation
Interviewed nearly 50 scholarship applicants and awarded more than $130,000 to 44 students pursing four year degrees in agriculture related fields
Supported FFA chapters through attending or sponsoring Ag Booster Events
Supported youth ag programs including 4-H, FFA and the Grange by volunteering at fundraisers, events and in school classrooms
Visited schools to talk about Farm Bureau and careers in agriculture
Presented the Farm Bureau Foundation’s Gold Cup Award including a $2,500 check to Emily Eck
Attended the Sonoma County Fair and interacted with youth exhibitors
Partnered with the Sonoma County Fair to host more than 600 people at the Junior Awards Dinner and Ceremony
Assisted the Young Farmers and Ranchers with planning their August Ag Tour
Taught more than 4,000 elementary age children about agriculture at SCFB’s annual ag days
Educated nearly 400 kids about agriculture at the Cloverdale Citrus Fair’s Ag Days
Hosted a coloring contest that more than 150 elementary school children entered
Participated in the Santa Rosa Metro Chamber’s Leadership Santa Rosa program’s Ag Day
Participated in Petaluma Youth Ag Day where SCFB educated Sonoma County elementary students about where their food comes from
Continuing to Educate Our Ag Community
Hosted the WHEEL program in coordination with the Santa Rosa Metro Chamber to teach Spanish to Sonoma County professionals wanting to expand their language ability
Hosted Michael Saqui for an Agricultural Business Compliance Seminar on Labor Trends and Immigration
Educated more than 400 people in English and Spanish through courses
Working with Farm Bureau Organizations at All Levels
Participated in fire response planning with Lake County Farm Bureau, Mendocino County Farm Bureau and Napa County Farm Bureau
Hosted American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall at our Premium Member Lunch and CFBF 1st Vice President Jamie Johansson
Hosted the Northern Counties manager’s conference including guests CFBF President Paul Wenger, Jamie Johansson, CFBF 2nd Vice President Tony Toso and American Farm Bureau Federation’s Director of
Media Advocacy Johnna Miller
Attended the California Farm Bureau caucus group
Attended the Marin County Farm Bureau VIP Luncheon
Furthering Agriculture through Social Events
Hosted a golf tournament to benefit agriculture education
Put on a sold out crab feed with more than 1,500 people attending to support local agriculture
Honored the Walker Family as Farm Family of the Year at Love of the Land
Awarded the Luther Burbank Conservation Award to Jackson Family Wines as a leader in sustainability
Inducted Earl and Dot Holtz into the Farm Bureau Hall of Fame
Supporting Fire Relief Efforts in Sonoma County
Attended cooperator briefings with emergency personnel and elected officials
Hosted an agricultural relief town hall meeting to provide information to rural landowners affected by the recent wildfires
Hosted Secretary of California Department of Agriculture Karen Ross at the town hall meeting and toured Sonoma County ag operations with her before the meeting
Took point on livestock feed and supply donations and became the official organization in Sonoma County to coordinate livestock relief efforts
Partnered with the Sonoma County Grape Growers Foundation to establish a housing fund for displaced ag workers
Sat on a panel at Marc Levine’s Town Hall Meeting to discuss Fire Relief Efforts
Endorsing Candidates Who
Endorsed Lynda Hopkins, 5th District County Supervisor and Shirlee Zane 3rd District for re-election to the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors
Endorsed and supported additional candidates including Bill Dodd, elected to the California State Senate; Mark Levine, elected to the California State Assembly; Mike Thompson, elected to the United States Congress; and Jim Wood, elected to the California State Assembly
100% of endorsed candidates were elected to office
Taking a Stand on Local Ballot Measures
Supported the community separator measure to maintain rural space and protect agriculture in Sonoma County
Supported the transient occupancy tax to equalize revenue collection
Opposed the transgenic contamination (GMO) ordinance as SCFB continues to represent all forms of agriculture
Opposed the parks tax which would impose higher taxes on rural residents to fund local parks
Participating in Cannabis
Represented agriculture interests by participating in meetings throughout the county regarding cannabis regulation and legislation
Supported the position that state level cannabis legalization and resulting rules focus on community safety and not lead to overly burdensome regulations for Sonoma County agriculture
Attended meetings explaining how the sale of wine directly supports agriculture and therefore related activities help agriculture
Took the position that this is important because wine is only the first target – if wineries are restricted these regulations can be passed onto other forms of agriculture
Fighting for Your Water Rights
Hosted six water committee meetings with stakeholders
Worked with local elected officials and organizations to form GSAs for the sustainable groundwater management act
Objected to many aspects of Senate Bill 88 which requires anyone diverting more than 10 acre-feet of water annually to measure and report
Urged Farm Bureau members to comply with SB 88 after it became law and assisted those who needed advice
Submitted comment letters jointly with the Napa County Farm Bureau, Wine Institute and four other grower groups critiquing Vineyard Waste Discharge Requirements for Sonoma Creek and Napa River Watershed
Educating the Public About Agriculture
Provided more than $135,000 in scholarships through the Farm Bureau Foundation of Sonoma County
Taught 5,700 people, including 4,200 elementary age children, about agriculture at SCFB’s annual Ag Days. Started an Ag Education teacher contest and awarded the grand prize to the Two Rock Elementary School, the teachers received a $1,000 grant to continue expanding their school garden
Participated in Petaluma Youth Ag Day. Sponsored the Life on the Farm Arena at the Gravenstein Apple Fair where approximately 15,000 members of the general public could learn about agriculture
Attended the Sonoma County Fair livestock shows and auctions promoting good animal husbandry
Co-sponsored the Sonoma County Fair Awards Dinner and presented 102 awards to 4-H and FFA students. Hosted and coordinated five days of agricultural tours for nearly 150 high school juniors around the county through the Tomorrow’s Leaders Today program
Modernizing the Home of SCFB
Purchased a new home for Sonoma County Farm Bureau offices at 3589 Westwind Blvd in the Airport Business ParkThe purchased building will provide modern facilities to accommodate growth of the organization and its services to members and county agriculture
Sold the 970 Piner Road Office
Promoting Agriculture Through
People and Events
Put on a sold-out 1,400 person crab feed to raise money for agricultural education. Honored the Mauritson Family as Farm Family of the Year at Love of the Land
Awarded the Luther Burbank Conservation Award to Richard Hughes for his work with the Resource Conservation Districts and Natural Resource Conservation Service to build a rainwater catchment pond and collect rain from the roof of his barn
Inducted past executive director Tim Tesconi into the Farm Bureau Hall of Fame
Hosted more than 200 Farm Bureau members at the 99th annual dinner honoring outgoing president John Azevedo and introducing incoming president Steve Dutton>
Training Our Agricultural Community
Supporting Local Businesses
Cooperated with 43 local businesses to promote and direct members patronage through a local discount program
Partnered with 42 Sonoma County wineries to promote and direct members patronage through providing discounted purchases
Copyright Sonoma County Farm Bureau
To represent, protect and advance the social, economic and educational interests of the farmers and ranchers of Sonoma County.