Nov. 2, 2017
Farm Bureau members in California will qualify for special access to the John Deere GreenFleetTM Loyalty Rewards program, under a new partnership between the California Farm Bureau Federation and John Deere.
The program provides Farm Bureau members with a free, two-year Platinum 2 membership. Along with equipment discounts, GreenFleet Loyalty Rewards Platinum members are eligible for special parts savings, Home & Workshop Products discounts and other members-only promotions.
Typically, a customer must initially purchase five pieces of qualifying equipment within 12 months to reach Platinum 2 status. Farm Bureau members will automatically qualify by signing up through JohnDeere.com/FarmBureau for these benefits:
To participate, Farm Bureau members can visit the CFBF website at www.cfbf.com/member-benefits or JohnDeere.com/FarmBureau. Once registered, the member will receive a GreenFleet member number and can instantly access program benefits. Members can purchase online at JohnDeere.com/BuyOnline or by visiting a local John Deere dealer. To find out more about GreenFleet Loyalty Rewards, visit JohnDeere.com/GreenFleet.
Founded in 1837, Deere & Company is a world leader in providing advanced products and services, and is committed to the success of customers whose work is linked to the land—those who cultivate, harvest, transform, enrich and build upon the land to meet the world’s dramatically increasing need for food, fuel, shelter and infrastructure.
Oct. 27, 2017
California has experienced its first confirmed livestock depredation by wolves since the gray wolf returned to the state in 2011.
A livestock loss determination report issued Oct. 20 by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife confirmed that one week earlier, Oct. 13, the Lassen Pack of wolves killed a cow on private property in western Lassen County. Data from a GPS tracking device worn by the breeding female of the Lassen Pack—known as LAS01F—confirms the wolf was present at the site for at least six hours on the night the 600-pound yearling heifer was killed.
According to the CDFW report, “wolf tracks were observed within the area,” including “kick marks and disturbed ground consistent with a struggle.” It was evident that wolves had killed the heifer, the report said, because of the location and nature of the bite marks, many of which were more than an inch deep.
“Frustratingly, current California law provides ranchers and CDFW very few tools for deterring and managing wolves,” California Cattlemen’s Association President Dave Daley said. “Under current law, we have extremely limited options for protecting our livestock.”
Livestock groups also criticized CDFW for declining to announce the wolf kill.
“It’s important for Californians to understand the full implications of the wolf’s return,” California Farm Bureau Federation President Paul Wenger said. “CDFW has been more than willing to notify the public when it identifies a new pack or when wolves have pups. People need to recognize wolves not as cute woodland creatures but as predators that kill.”
CFBF and CCA have sued the California Fish and Game Commission to overturn its decision to list the gray wolf as an endangered species in California, which would allow more flexibility in wolf management.
Although the Oct. 13 incident marked the first confirmed livestock kill by a wolf, suspected kills occurred on four other occasions between Sept. 19 and Sept. 30, each reported by the same Lassen County rancher whose cow suffered the confirmed kill this month. CDFW did not confirm any of those incidents, but GPS data and eyewitness reports place the Lassen Pack near the cattle at the time.
The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of more than 48,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of more than 6.2 million Farm Bureau members. The California Cattlemen’s Association represents more than 1,700 cattle ranchers in California and has been serving cattle ranchers and beef producers since 1917.
Oct. 17, 2017
Across California, farmers and ranchers face chronic problems in finding and hiring qualified and willing people to work in agriculture, according to a survey conducted by the California Farm Bureau Federation.
The informal survey of Farm Bureau members showed that more than half of responding farmers had experienced employee shortages during the past year. The figure was higher among farmers who need to hire employees on a seasonal basis—69 percent of those farmers reported experiencing shortages. The results are similar to a survey CFBF conducted in 2012.
“Despite all the efforts California farmers and ranchers have made to find and hire people to work on their operations, they still can’t find enough willing and qualified employees,” CFBF President Paul Wenger said. “Farmers have offered higher wages, benefits and more year-round jobs. They have tried to mechanize operations where possible, and have even changed crops or left ground idle. But employee shortages persist.”
When asked what actions they have taken in response to employee shortages, farmers participating in the survey most frequently cited increased wages, benefits and additional incentives. Farmers also reported they had used, attempted or investigated mechanization; reduced cultivation activities such as pruning trees and vines; and either planted fewer acres or left some crops unharvested.
Wenger said he expects farmers to continue offering higher wages and moving toward mechanization, but that the survey results underline the need for action by Congress to improve the existing agricultural immigration program.
“Only 3 percent of the farmers in our survey said they had used the existing H-2A agricultural immigration program,” Wenger said. “Even though more farmers have tried it, H-2A remains too cumbersome for most. Farmers in California and elsewhere in the country need an improved system to allow people to enter the U.S. legally to work on farms and ranches.”
Farmers have been forthright about their reliance on a largely immigrant workforce, he said, noting that efforts to hire U.S.-born employees on farms have remained unsuccessful. Wenger said Farm Bureau and other organizations would continue to work with Congress to create “a secure, flexible, market-based agricultural immigration program.”
Sept. 21, 2017
Beginning immediately, Farm Bureau members in California can qualify for discounts when buying Ford trucks, cars and SUVs, and Lincoln luxury vehicles.
The California Farm Bureau Federation and the Ford Motor Company have partnered to offer California members a new benefit, which offers $500 Bonus Cash toward the purchase or lease of an eligible new 2017/2018 Ford vehicle, and $750 toward the purchase or lease of an eligible new 2017/2018 Lincoln vehicle.
“We’re excited to offer this new benefit to Farm Bureau members,” CFBF President Paul Wenger said. “The Ford F-150 has been the nation’s best-selling truck for 40 years and a key part of many farm and ranch operations. With the Farm Bureau discount, a full range of Ford and Lincoln vehicles will become even more of a good deal.”
To qualify for the Ford member benefit, you must be an eligible member of a county Farm Bureau in California for at least 30 consecutive days and must show proof of membership. Farm Bureau members may download and print a Ford or Lincoln program certificate from fordspecialoffer.com/farmbureau/ca or lincolnspecialoffer.com/farmbureau/ca. To print the certificate, members must enter their Farm Bureau membership number and primary ZIP code. The certificate should be provided to a local Ford or Lincoln dealer before beginning the vehicle purchase process.
“Ford Motor Company remains dedicated to expanding our Farm Bureau association and we are extremely pleased to include the California Farm Bureau,” said Kevin Cour, director of U.S. retail operations for Ford. “Ford continues to support the ever-important sector of agriculture and farming, to help this vital group of hard-working Americans get equipment that works as hard as they do to feed the nation and the world.”
For additional information on the Ford and Lincoln membership benefit, visit the CFBF website at www.cfbf.com/member-benefits and select the Vehicle Discounts and Rentals link.
Ford Motor Co., based in Dearborn, Mich., designs, manufactures, markets and services a full line of Ford cars, trucks, SUVs, electrified vehicles and Lincoln luxury vehicles, provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Co. and is pursuing leadership positions in electrification, autonomous vehicles and mobility solutions. For more information, see www.corporate.ford.com.
June 20, 2017
Ag Alert®, the weekly newspaper published by the California Farm Bureau Federation, has been honored as Best Newspaper in an annual competition sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation. CFBF also earned an award for best feature writing and an honorable mention for best magazine during a ceremony at the AFBF Communications Conference in Pittsburgh, Pa.
The award for Ag Alert marked the second straight year the publication has been honored as the best newspaper published by a large-state Farm Bureau. Ag Alert is distributed to agricultural members of county Farm Bureaus in California. The contest judge remarked on the publication’s “inviting” layout, design and use of photographs, a “strong mix of articles and commentaries” and generally well-written content.
“Overall, it’s easy to understand why this is the No. 1 ag-related publication in the state,” the judge wrote.
The assistant editor of the CFBF member magazine California Bountiful®, Shannon Springmeyer, earned the Best Feature Story award among large-state Farm Bureaus for a story about use of beneficial insects to counteract agricultural pests. Titled “Good Bug, Bad Bug,” the story appeared in the March/April edition of California Bountiful, which is distributed bimonthly to associate members of Farm Bureau and members of the California Bountiful Foundation.
The judge commended Springmeyer’s story for its “very interesting topic” and “great examples of beneficial bug use throughout the years.”
California Bountiful earned honorable mention for Best Magazine among large-state Farm Bureaus. The judge praised its stories as “varied and consistently interesting,” describing the magazine as “a great informational resource.”
May 1, 2017
New savings on automotive and equipment parts have become available to Farm Bureau members in California, through a benefit with O’Reilly Auto Parts.
Effective May 1, Farm Bureau members can save between 5 percent and 20 percent from O’Reilly Auto Parts on select parts they use every day, such as brake pads and rotors, filters, batteries, belts, hoses and many other commonly replaced parts. O’Reilly Auto Parts offers a wide selection of automotive, fleet and heavy-duty parts to cover every piece of equipment on a farm or ranch.
The discount may be applied at more than 500 O’Reilly Auto Parts stores in California, by presenting a Farm Bureau membership card and using the California Farm Bureau account number. Members can obtain the account number by calling their local county Farm Bureau office or via the member help line at 800-698-3276. The discount may also be applied to online orders at O’Reilly’s professional customer website, firstcallonline.com, by Farm Bureau members who have established an account at their local O’Reilly Auto Parts store.
The Farm Bureau benefit includes free delivery within 5 miles of a local O’Reilly Auto Parts store and free access to firstcallonline.com for parts look-up and ordering, vehicle specs, technical service bulletin documents and more. O’Reilly Auto Parts offers cash on delivery, daily charge, weekly charge and monthly charge accounts, depending on a customer’s individual needs.
Founded in 1957 in Springfield, Mo., O’Reilly Auto Parts started as a single-store, family-operated supply house with a special focus on the wholesale market, and has grown to be one of the largest aftermarket parts suppliers in the nation, with more than 4,800 stores in 47 states.
For further information on Farm Bureau membership benefits, see www.cfbf.com/member-benefits.
March 22, 2017
After the federal Central Valley Project reported today it expects to deliver only 65 percent of contract water supplies to its agricultural water contractors south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, California Farm Bureau Federation President Paul Wenger said the announcement shows how operation of the state’s water system remains in need of an overhaul.
“In the alternate universe of California water, we can have floods, full reservoirs and a huge snowpack and still not have full water supplies. It boggles the mind,” Wenger said.
“Operation of our water system remains out of whack. We need to continue efforts to improve and expand the system,” he said. “In Congress, passage of the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act last year marked an important step in addressing the system’s inadequacies. Congress must now follow through with measures such as Rep. David Valadao’s Gaining Responsibility on Water Act, which would offer longer-term ability to store and move water.”
Wenger said farmers and ranchers will also press Congress to modernize endangered-species laws, “to balance the goals of environmental restoration with the ability to provide the resources needed to grow food and farm products.”
At the state level, he said, California must move as quickly as possible to invest money from the Proposition 1 water bond into storage projects that provide the state with more ability to store water in wet winters such as this.
“Improved storage capacity, both above and below ground, is crucial to California’s long-term ability to withstand droughts, protect against floods and gain the flexibility needed to allow people and the environment to thrive,” Wenger said.
March 7, 2017
The Leadership Farm Bureau Class of 2017—formally introduced today—has begun a year-long series of activities and training sessions focused on issues affecting California agriculture. The nine Farm Bureau members in this year’s class appeared at the annual California Farm Bureau Federation Leaders Conference in Sacramento.
The Leadership Farm Bureau program, sponsored by CFBF, includes six intensive sessions on relevant agricultural issues plus field-studies trips to both Northern and Southern California. Class members participate in personal-development, teambuilding and communications training, and advocate on behalf of Farm Bureau in both Sacramento and Washington, D.C.
This year’s class includes:
The Leadership Farm Bureau class will complete its program of activities in December, with graduation during the CFBF Annual Meeting in Garden Grove. For further information about the program, see www.cfbf.com/lfb.
Feb. 28, 2017
Welcoming President Trump’s executive order for review of a disputed Clean Water Act rule, the president of the California Farm Bureau Federation said he hopes today’s action leads to a more cooperative approach to environmental regulation.
“California farmers and ranchers pride themselves in the care they show for the land, water and other resources entrusted to them,” CFBF President Paul Wenger said. “We want to work cooperatively to maintain and improve our land, not to be subject to confusing and sometimes contradictory rules from government agencies.
“We’re encouraged by the Trump administration’s action to roll back the ‘waters of the United States’ rule,” Wenger said. “At the same time, we recognize the executive order as the first step in what could be a long process to undo the confusion brought by the WOTUS rule.
“Ultimately, the goal should be to provide farmers and ranchers—in California and elsewhere—the freedom to farm their land productively and with environmental certainty, while pursuing compliance with the Clean Water Act through incentives rather than coercion.”
Feb. 28, 2017
Today’s water supply announcement from the federal Central Valley Project shows the resiliency of nature and the limitations of California’s water supply system, according to the president of the California Farm Bureau Federation. After a wintertime recovery in precipitation, CFBF President Paul Wenger said “it’s a shame” the CVP can’t assure full water supplies to all of its customers.
“Just look at the numbers,” Wenger said. “The Sierra snowpack stands at 186 percent of average. Most key reservoirs hold higher-than-average supplies for the time of year. If the CVP can’t assure full supplies to all of its customers this year, what would be needed for that to happen?
“We understand this is a fish-first system now,” he continued, “because federal fisheries agencies have the first and last call on CVP water. We know the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act that Congress passed last year will help. But we obviously need to take further action to modernize our water system, our laws and our policies.
“One wet year won’t erase our long-term surface water deficit, and the current fish-first policies have also harmed groundwater supplies—an impact that is both serious and inexcusable.
“Farm Bureau remains committed to achieving a water system that benefits both our environment and our economy. We believe that can be achieved and we believe we can learn from wet years such as this one as well as from dry years. We will continue to work with elected representatives and agency officials with that goal in mind.”
Feb. 21, 2017
Strong storms during the Presidents’ Day holiday weekend flooded farm fields, caused several dairy farms to relocate their animals and brought other impacts on California farms and ranches. The storms also added more water to an already overtaxed system, and led to renewed calls to modernize the system.
“In the long term, the surge of storms should bring an improved water outlook,” California Farm Bureau Federation President Paul Wenger said, “but it has definitely brought worries to farmers and ranchers whose land is inundated or whose crops may be at risk. We remain hopeful that weather in coming days will minimize any problems.”
Wenger noted that many reservoirs have filled and have had to release water, which underlines the need to enhance California’s water storage capacity.
“Believe it or not, there are people who think we don't need more water storage, and that we should even tear down many of the facilities we now have,” he said. “These activists don't care how many people suffer from devastating floods in winters like this. They don't care how many people suffer from water shortages during droughts.”
Wenger said California must move as quickly as possible to allocate money from the 2014 water bond, Proposition 1, to create more storage both aboveground and underground.
“Environmentalists say we can solve water problems by conserving more water and storing more underground. But we’re not able to conserve most of the water flowing through the system now—we have had to let it go. And moving water into the ground takes time. You can’t replenish groundwater if you don’t have aboveground reservoirs and canals to hold and move water to where it can effectively filter underground,” Wenger said.
Farm Bureau said farmers of a number of crops and commodities will be assessing the impact from the weekend storms, including:
• Almonds—The storms hit just as almond trees were blooming. Bees that pollinate almond blossoms don’t fly in the rain and prefer temperatures higher than 55 degrees. In addition, a number of almond trees were blown down by strong winds during the weekend. But farmers said the tree losses weren’t as bad as feared, and expressed hope pollination would still be successful.
• Berries—The rains delayed strawberry harvest along the Central and Southern California coast. Production may be temporarily reduced as farmers wait for waterlogged fields to dry and discard rain-damaged berries.
• Dairy farms—Several dairy farms located near the Tuolumne and San Joaquin rivers needed to move their animals to higher ground as river levels rose. Other farmers are watching river levels carefully and preparing to move their animals if needed.
• Field crops—Fall-planted grain crops that have germinated could take on too much water, which could ultimately reduce yields. Hay fields have also flooded. Soggy or flooded fields will delay planting for a number of crops.
• Grapes—Vineyards in various grape-growing regions have been flooded. Farmers say that could leave vines vulnerable to root-rot damage if they remain flooded for too long.
• Vegetables—Rains and muddy fields slowed vegetable harvest in Southern California and delayed planting in the Salinas Valley. Rain generally benefited vegetable crops in the Imperial Valley.
• Walnuts—Flooded orchards that remain waterlogged for too long could be vulnerable to root diseases that can kill trees.
• Miscellaneous—Heavy rains in foothill regions have washed out privately maintained roads, making it hard for cattle ranchers to reach their animals, and muddy pastures limit ranchers’ ability to reach herds on horseback. Pear orchards in Lake County have been flooded. Citrus fruit harvest was temporarily delayed. The storms brought large amounts of rain to Santa Barbara County farmers who have remained in severe drought. One farmer there reported losing about half an acre of avocado trees to a mudslide.
When state snow surveyors visit the Sierra Nevada tomorrow, they will find a snowpack well above average for the date—and California agricultural organizations say they hope that translates into improved water supplies for the state’s farmers and ranchers.
“You would think that a snowpack in the range of 175 percent of average would assure plentiful water supplies, but that link has long ago been severed,” said Tom Nassif, president of the Western Growers Association. “Wildlife agencies often hold the key to determining how much water is available, because endangered-species laws reserve water for protected fish.”
Nassif noted the passage of federal legislation called the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act, which included short-term provisions to increase flexibility of the state’s water system.
“Among its provisions, the WIIN Act allows water agencies to capture more water during winter storms and requires them to maximize supplies consistent with law. This winter will be a good test of how agencies adhere to that law,” said Paul Wenger, president of the California Farm Bureau Federation.
The WIIN Act also invests in California water storage and desalination projects, complementing the investments California voters made when they passed the Proposition 1 water bond in 2014.
“We’ve had to let too much water run out to sea this winter, because we didn’t have any place to store it,” said Bill Diedrich, president of the California Farm Water Coalition. “We should be doing everything we can to save today’s rain and snow for use tomorrow.”
The California Water Commission will decide later this year on water projects to be funded through the bond.
“We will continue to urge the commission to put that money to work as quickly as possible to build new storage facilities that can capture more water during future winters such as we’ve seen in 2017,” Diedrich said.
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Western Growers – 949-885-2264
California Farm Bureau Federation – 916-561-5550
California Farm Water Coalition – 916-391-5030
Jan. 23, 2017
Calling for continued efforts to break down barriers to agricultural trade, the California Farm Bureau Federation expressed disappointment today in President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.
“Trade in food and farm products benefits both rural and urban areas of California,” CFBF President Paul Wenger said. “For example, farm products represent the top export from the Port of Oakland, and agreements such as the TPP would allow us to reach more potential customers in key Pacific Rim markets.”
Wenger said he hopes the administration will follow up with policies aimed at opening foreign markets for American farm products.
“We operate in a world where it’s much easier for crops from other nations to enter the U.S. than for American farm goods to be sold elsewhere,” he said. “We will encourage the administration to work on smaller-scale agreements that would allow American farmers to trade with other nations on an equal basis.”
Wenger noted the administration has also discussed reopening the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico.
“If NAFTA is reopened, its agricultural provisions should be left alone,” he said. “We don’t want successful agricultural trade to be caught in any conflict about other portions of the agreement.”
Dec. 22, 2016
From soaring vistas to intimate moments of farm life, submissions to the California Farm Bureau Federation 2016 Photo Contest captured diverse perspectives of the state’s rich agricultural and rural tapestry. Farm Bureau has announced the winners of the 35th annual competition aimed at celebrating California agriculture through photography.
Capturing a pre-dawn glimpse of a Napa County winegrape harvest, photographer Andrew Lincoln of Napa took home the competition’s top honor, the $1,000 Grand Prize. Witnessing the night harvest “makes for a very surreal environment and very dramatic moments,” Lincoln said.
Hannah Gbeh of Jamul garnered First Place and $500 for a portrait of her husband cradling peanut plants on their San Diego County farm. Becky Hanson of Clements earned Second Place and $250 for capturing a colorful walnut orchard in San Joaquin County, and also earned an Honorable Mention for a second photo. Mary Heffernan of Fort Jones won Third Place and $100 for a scene featuring her young daughter with a lamb on their Siskiyou County ranch.
Five additional contestants earned Honorable Mentions and $50 for their efforts: Vanessa Alexandre of Crescent City, Del Norte County; Jenny Manuelli of Riverbank, Stanislaus County; Becky Reisdorf of Carmel, Monterey County; Julie Thornton of Potter Valley, Mendocino County; and Susana Velasco of Alpaugh, Tulare County.
In the Budding Artists category for ages 13 and younger, presented by the California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom, 13-year-old Chelsea Davis of Riverdale claimed First Place and $250 for a photo of her 2-year-old brother playing with toy tractors on the family’s Fresno County farm. The Second Place prize of $100 went to 13-year-old Bella Locke of Tulare for a spirited selfie with her expressive 4-H heifer.
The contest received hundreds of entries from throughout the state. All eligible participants were amateur photographers and members of county Farm Bureaus in California or supporters of the California Bountiful Foundation. This year’s theme, “Fresh Perspective,” encouraged participants to explore unique viewpoints.
In addition to the cash prizes awarded to the photographers, all 12 prize-winning photos will be published in the weekly California Farm Bureau newspaper, Ag Alert®, as well as the organization’s bimonthly magazine, California Bountiful®. The photos will also appear on the organization’s websites (www.cfbf.com, www.agalert.com and www.californiabountiful.com) and social media pages.
Dec. 7, 2016
Urging Congress to allow California to take full advantage of coming winter storms, the California Farm Bureau Federation said today it supports the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act slated for a vote this week.
“As California faces a potential sixth consecutive drought year, it’s critical for Congress to do what it can to assure we can capture as much water as possible from winter storms, while maintaining protections for the environment,” CFBF President Paul Wenger said. “The WIIN bill offers a balanced solution to help pay for long-overdue water supply, conservation and recycling projects.”
The legislation includes bipartisan language aimed at addressing California water shortages, as well as investment in ports, channels and other water infrastructure, and changes to improve drinking-water safety.
“Senator Feinstein, Representative McCarthy and other California members of Congress have worked hard, in good faith, to produce legislation that will benefit our entire state,” Wenger said. “We’ve watched too often as water from winter storms has flowed uncaptured out to sea. We have to become more sophisticated at operating our water system to store as much water as we can while meeting environmental and other needs. This bill moves us in that direction and deserves congressional support.”
Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item.