Excellence in leadership, member services, policy implementation, agricultural promotion and public relations earned honors for county Farm Bureaus during the 103rd California Farm Bureau Annual Meeting. The awards were presented tonight during a recognition dinner.
For county Farm Bureaus with up to 499 agricultural members, the Monterey County Farm Bureau earned the County of the Year Award. The county Farm Bureau increased communications with members through weekly e-newsletters and alerts on important issues and member benefits. It also partnered with elected officials on COVID-19 safety measures and relief packages for farmers, encouraged Gov. Newsom to veto Assembly Bill 616, which would have eliminated farm employees’ rights to secret ballots, and continues to actively support the next generation of farmers and ranchers. It also led the development of a new display at the Monterey Regional Airport that focuses on agriculture.
San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau received the County of the Year Award in its membership class of 500 to 799 members. It hosted the Central Coast Agritourism Intensive class with University of California Extension, developed a farmworker mass-vaccination effort and partnered with the county fire department on an Ag Pass program allowing emergency access to areas threatened during a disaster. It also created many ways to engage with members through events, increased its exposure to the community on social media and was active in providing educational and mentorship opportunities to agriculture students and young professionals.
Among county Farm Bureaus with 800 or more members, the Napa County Farm Bureau was named County of the Year. It took an active role in ensuring agricultural employees had access to the COVID-19 vaccination, advocated for Senate Bill 11, which ensured farm properties can access basic property insurance under the California FAIR plan, and stepped up its social media engagement with the public. It continues to partner with local youth organizations and schools and developed a program that teaches students how plants grow. The bureau also had significant membership growth.
The Stanislaus County Farm Bureau received the Innovator Award, which recognizes the most creative, forward-thinking program undertaken by a county Farm Bureau.
It was recognized for creating “Farm Bureau Foodies,” a video series featured on social media that recognizes local restaurants that source items from local Stanislaus County Farm Bureau members. Each video brings viewers from a dish at a restaurant to the farm, ranch or dairy that produced the ingredient and tells the farmer’s story. The goal is to bring people to local restaurants and help them learn about where their food comes from and the people who grow it.
Thirteen county Farm Bureaus earned recognition for outstanding membership recruitment and retention: Amador, Del Norte, Imperial, Kings, Merced, Napa, San Diego, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Yuba-Sutter.
In addition, two California county Farm Bureaus have been selected by the American Farm Bureau Federation among 77 entries from across the country for County Activities of Excellence. Tuolumne County Farm Bureau was selected for its campaign to defeat Measure V, a parcel tax it said disproportionally put the costs of fire protection on the rural community, while primarily servicing more urban areas. Santa Cruz County Farm Bureau was recognized for efforts that led the county to being the first in the nation to provide mass COVID-19 vaccinations to its agricultural workers. The two county Farm Bureaus have the opportunity to participate in the 2022 AFBF Annual Convention next month in Atlanta.
The California Farm Bureau works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of nearly 32,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of nearly 5.6 million Farm Bureau members.