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Community Corner - What’s Growin’ On?

POSTED May 9, 2012 12:15 a.m.

What is the Farm Bureau? Farm Bureau is a nationwide, grassroots, non-profit membership organization that works on behalf of farmers and ranchers to protect their way of life and insure an opportunity to successfully compete in today’s world.

Do you have to be a farmer to be a Farm Bureau member? In our county, the Stanislaus County Farm Bureau (SCFB) has nearly 3,400 members. Approximately half of those members are production agriculture and agribusiness and the other half either have an interest in agriculture or benefit from our insurance partnerships with Allied, Nationwide, HealthNet and State Compensation Insurance Fund (State Fund).

How is the organization structured? SCFB is a member county in the California Farm Bureau Federation (CFBF). CFBF is a member state in the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF).
Stanislaus County Farm Bureau is governed by its members through regionally elected directors. Our county is broken up into five regions - Northeast, Northwest, Westside, Southern and Eastside. Add up all of the regions and an officer team of five and two additional members, and we arrive at a Board of Directors that totals 37 members. The directors are elected by the members and the officers are elected by the directors.

Where does Oakdale fit in the Stanislaus County Farm Bureau? Oakdale is part of the Northeast region, which is the largest geographical region in our organization. The regional borders are Dry Creek to the south and McHenry Avenue on the west. The northern and eastern borders are the county lines with Calaveras, San Joaquin and Tuolumne counties. Our local directors in the Northeast region are Pete Dykzeul, Rod Gambini, Kurt Hoekstra, Bryan Kamper and Ray Lial of Oakdale and Norman Kline of Riverbank. Each director serves a two-year term and may be re-elected as long as the membership in that region approves. Each year in February, the Northeast region holds a dinner meeting to listen to current public speakers, talk with friends and hold elections for three of the six directors.

What does Farm Bureau do for me? Farm Bureau is involved in different things for different people. We work with our members and a variety of groups to educate the public, agencies and representatives on the policies that govern us. Agriculture is essential in our daily lives and goes far beyond the farm. Our members are committed to the production of the safest and most nutritious food supply in the world. We are committed to the communities we live in. By working for a stronger and more productive agriculture, we strengthen our families, employees and communities.

Some of the local issues Farm Bureau is involved with include land use policies, agricultural land preservation, property rights protection, worker safety training, rural crime prevention, water security and agricultural education.
Among other events, each year we sponsor the Stanislaus Safety Seminar where employers, employees and their supervisors are able to listen to safety updates from agencies such as the Ag Commissioner, CalOSHA, CHP, Sheriff’s Department, State Fund and TID. All of these sessions are offered in English and Spanish. All of the services are free.
Our largest member outreach is the Rural Crime Alert System. This system incorporates information into an e-mail form from various neighborhood watch groups and law enforcement regarding rural crime issues.
At Farm Bureau, if we are not at the table, we will be on the menu! Won’t you please join us?

Tom Orvis is the Governmental Affairs Director for the Stanislaus County Farm Bureau. For more information, contact Tom @ (209) 522-7278 or TomO@stanfarmbureau.org.

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