Monterey County Farm Bureau

CFBF Annual Meeting

Farm Bureau Celebrates 100 Years!

MCFB Recognized as County Farm Bureau of the Year

Excellence in policy implementation, leadership, membership services, agricultural education and public relations led to awards for three county Farm Bureaus at the 100th California Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting. The County of the Year Awards were presented during a recognition dinner on December 3rd.

The Monterey County Farm Bureau received the County of the Year Award for county Farm Bureaus with up to 499 members. The county Farm Bureau provides a complete range of services to its members and the broader community, including participation on local boards working on groundwater management, water-quality protection, land use and more. This year, the Monterey County Farm Bureau took the lead in urging local government bodies to address the issue of illegal camping that has worsened problems of illegal dumping of trash in farm fields. This marks the third straight year Monterey County has earned the award in its membership class.

CFBF President Outlines Policy Priorities

Describing Farm Bureau as an organization “that wants to go beyond making a statement by being determined to make a difference,” California Farm Bureau Federation President Jamie Johansson outlined priorities for CFBF during its 100th Annual Meeting in San Diego on December 3rd.

One area of ongoing emphasis will be in water policy, Johansson said, noting that Farm Bureau is prepared “to continue defending water rights and shaping water policy in 2019.”

“The strength of our water policy is the commitment to the idea that to meet California’s water needs, we do not need to sacrifice the water needs of one region over another farm community,” he said.

CFBF will remain actively engaged in policy discussions involving other natural resources, Johansson pledged, pointing out that California’s scourge of wildfires has demonstrated that “if we do not manage our resources, they quickly become liabilities.”

He said Farm Bureau would continue to fight back against expanding government regulation that hampers agriculture.

“That’s what ties us together at Farm Bureau,” Johansson said. “It’s the understanding that what’s bad for an almond farmer is bad for a rice farmer.”

Despite the difficulties, he said, “the opportunities have never been greater to farm and be in agriculture,” thanks to innovation and access to markets.

“What we have to do as Farm Bureau is to show this state that what we do best is create wealth” that benefits everyone involved in agriculture, including farm employees and people who work in transportation, marketing and other jobs, Johansson said, noting that “with water, sunlight, seed, good soil and some knowledge, you can grow something and you can sell it.”

Farm Bureau members today are much like their predecessors who founded the organization in 1919, he said, in their insistence “to make things better.”

“The success of Farm Bureau is as a volunteer gathering of individuals who understand that just like on our farms and ranches, actions speak louder than words,” Johansson said.

Farm Bureau Honors Former President Paul Wenger for Distinguished Service

Citing his passion for agriculture, his tenacity and his decades of service to Farm Bureau, the California Farm Bureau Federation presented its Distinguished Service Award to former CFBF President Paul Wenger. Wenger accepted the award during the organization’s 100th Annual Meeting in San Diego on December 3rd.

A third-generation farmer who grows almonds and walnuts on a family farm in Modesto, Wenger served as CFBF president from 2009-17, ending his term after serving the maximum eight years in office. He has been a Stanislaus County Farm Bureau member since 1980, serving as county Farm Bureau president before being elected to the CFBF board and then as a statewide officer beginning in 1997, when he was elected the organization’s second vice president. Wenger also served on the American Farm Bureau Federation Board of Directors.

CFBF President Jamie Johansson described his predecessor as “tireless” in his work on behalf of Farm Bureau and California agriculture.

“In his speech to our Annual Meeting last year, Paul reminded us that those who work the hardest the longest and invest the most are probably going to be successful. Although he was referring to Farm Bureau, the words certainly apply to Paul himself. He has remained actively involved in Farm Bureau and agriculture, and we look forward to his continued contributions,” Johansson said.

In nominating Wenger for the award, the Stanislaus County Farm Bureau pointed to his “lifetime in leadership roles in agriculture,” starting as a state Future Farmers of America officer in 1973, and cited “his passion for the industry and his tenacity to resolve problems and get things done.”

The Distinguished Service Award has been presented annually since 1953 to dedicated Farm Bureau volunteers from California. In addition to the award to Wenger, CFBF presented the Distinguished Service Award to longtime Yuba-Sutter Farm Bureau leader James Marler.

Previous winners of the CFBF Distinguished Service Award in Monterey County are Bill Barker, Bob Martin, and Benny Jefferson.