County Farm Bureaus earn national recognition
» October 23, 2012 «
Two county Farm Bureaus in California have earned national recognition for innovative programs: one which informs members about regulations affecting their businesses and one that uses a fun activity to educate schoolchildren about local farms and ranches.
The San Joaquin Farm Bureau Federation and Butte 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, Jan. 13-16 in Nashville, Tenn.
The San Joaquin Farm Bureau Federation recognized that its members faced challenges in managing their farms and ranches due to ever-changing government rules and regulations. To help farmers understand requirements and stay up to date on new management practices, the county Farm Bureau created a Rural Health and Safety Committee. The committee partnered with government agencies and developed 15 training events covering topics from heat illness prevention and CPR to pesticide safety and hazardous materials transport.
Trainings were held in English and in Spanish; during the past year, more than 500 Farm Bureau members and employees participated. The San Joaquin Farm Bureau Federation says it has seen membership increase as a result of the program, and has benefited from enhanced communication and partnerships with agencies and businesses in the community.
The Butte County Farm Bureau organizes the Agribee™, a spelling bee with a special emphasis on the area's agriculture. Students throughout the region participate, studying terms related to farming and ranching. About 40 member volunteers help plan the spell-and-define competitions at participating schools, where fourth- and fifth-graders vie for a spot at the six-county regional finals. Farm Bureau members help judge the contests.
The Agribee has benefited from a partnership with the University of California Cooperative Extension Nutrition Education staff to promote the program in local schools. Interest in the Agribee has grown quickly. The county Farm Bureau says the greatest benefit has been the increased appreciation for the region's farming and ranching community, both from participating students and from their parents and families.
"Great communication is at the heart of both of these programs," California Farm Bureau Federation President Paul Wenger said. "They're among the many innovative efforts county Farm Bureaus take on behalf of California family farmers and ranchers. We appreciate the creativity and contribution of the county Farm Bureau volunteers and employees who made the programs succeed."
The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of more than 74,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of more than 6.2 million Farm Bureau members.
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