Three county Farm Bureaus earn national awards
» November 1, 2011 «
Three county Farm Bureaus in California have earned national recognition for creative programs that support local agriculture and invite people not familiar with farming and ranching to learn more about the bounty of California. The Santa Barbara County Farm Bureau, Santa Cruz County Farm Bureau and Shasta County Farm Bureau won County Activities of Excellence Awards, presented by the American Farm Bureau Federation.
The county Farm Bureaus from California will be among 25 from throughout the nation to be showcased during the AFBF Annual Meeting next January in Honolulu, Hawaii.
The Santa Barbara County Farm Bureau saw a need in its community and set to work filling it. Farm Bureau leaders noticed that because of financial challenges, many high school students were wearing borrowed Future Farmers of America jackets. That resulted in what the Santa Barbara County Farm Bureau called the Blue Jacket Bonanza program, through which students can earn their jackets.
Blue Jacket Bonanza is the first program of its kind in the nation. Students with financial need submit applications that include a description of what earning a blue FFA jacket would mean to them. The Santa Barbara County Farm Bureau says inspirational stories from the students have reinvigorated its work and helped energize the next generation of farmers and ranchers, who feel as though they belong to a supportive community that recognizes their hard work. At Farm Bureau fundraisers, members of the community donated $17,000 for the program.
This marks the second consecutive year the Santa Cruz County Farm Bureau earned an activity of excellence award for one of its educational programs. Its 10-minute "Local Agriculture" DVD highlights Santa Cruz County's variety of commodities and resulted from efforts by members of the county Farm Bureau and the local Young Farmers and Ranchers group. The video debuted in a movie premiere atmosphere featuring characters in fruit and vegetable costumes and farmers and ranchers on hand to autograph DVD cases.
Through the DVD, the county Farm Bureau said urban residents learn about a vital aspect of their county, legislators show off a thriving sector of their district, and visitors see that there is much more to Santa Cruz County than redwoods and beaches.
The Shasta County Farm Bureau earned recognition for organizing a successful event in the eastern portion of the county that had often been geographically removed from past Farm Bureau activities. The county Farm Bureau created an Intermountain Ranch Rodeo that drew upon the county's ranching heritage and welcomed participants and spectators who may not have been familiar with the Shasta County Farm Bureau.
At the three-day rodeo, 16 teams competed in seven different events. The weekend also included a ranch horse competition, children's rodeo and a Western Cattle Dog Association dog trial. The rodeo helped the county Farm Bureau reach many people who had not interacted with the organization before, while raising funds at the same time.
"These three programs exemplify the great things our county Farm Bureaus do on behalf of their members and the residents of California," said Paul Wenger, president of the California Farm Bureau Federation. "They will represent our state well at the American Farm Bureau meeting in Hawaii, and we congratulate them on their success."
The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of 76,500 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of more than 6.2 million Farm Bureau members.
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