Farm Bureau highlights membership gains, innovative programs
» December 5, 2006 «
Creative, diligent efforts to protect California family farms and ranches helped spur membership growth among the state's county Farm Bureaus this year and led to program awards presented at the California Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting in Anaheim.
More than 18,000 new members joined Farm Bureau in California, and overall membership rose to 91,677. Thirty-eight county Farm Bureaus enjoyed membership growth this year.
Four county Farm Bureaus earned Program of Excellence awards:
- A long-term commitment by the Madera County Farm Bureau led to a significant court victory governing land use and water rights. The county Farm Bureau joined in a lawsuit that challenged the access to water rights for a large planned subdivision. A judge agreed that the development had been approved without adequate planning for its water supply. The county Farm Bureau and its partners in the suit pursued the case for two years before earning the favorable ruling.
- Grassroots organizing brought honors for the Napa County Farm Bureau. It mobilized its membership to defeat a local ballot initiative that would have forced the county to raise taxes or cut services and would have undermined land-use laws. The county Farm Bureau became a leader in a local coalition that succeeded in defeating the ballot measure.
- A broad program of services performed by the San Diego County Farm Bureau ranged from strategies to control the cost of agricultural water to creation of a campaign to promote locally grown foods to staging of bilingual safety training sessions for agricultural workers. County Farm Bureau members were prominent in supporting comprehensive reform of federal immigration laws. The county Farm Bureau's political activities also included a well-attended congressional candidates' forum.
- The Shasta County Farm Bureau earned honors for its ambitious program of political action and local involvement. The county Farm Bureau organized media events and fund-raisers prior to this year's elections, including a "No Tractor Tax" rally covered by local television and newspaper reporters. It has taken the lead in creating a local service to monitor water rights and in educating cattle ranchers about the national animal-identification program.
The California Farm Bureau Federation, the state's largest farm organization, works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of nearly 92,000 members.
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