Monterey County Farm Bureau

CFBF Annual Meeting

California Farm Bureau Federation held their 98th Annual Meeting in Monterey on December 4th - 7th.  Over 800 farmers and ranchers from around the state came together to debate farm policy, hear updates on regional and statewide issues, and to network with each other on common interests.

Pointing to the sacrifices made by previous generations to provide opportunity to family farmers and ranchers, California Farm Bureau Federation President Paul Wenger said farmers have the ability to change their future, if they commit the time and resources to the effort. Wenger spoke during the opening session of the 98th CFBF Annual Meeting in Monterey.

“Those people who came before us gave us this opportunity, and the big question is whether we are going to answer that bell,” Wenger said, praising earlier generations who had the foresight to build reservoirs, roads and other infrastructure that allowed California to become the greatest agricultural region in the world.

Now, he said, the struggle has focused on defending the resources farmers and ranchers need to maintain and enhance production of food and farm products. In order to be successful, Wenger said, farmers and ranchers must work together—across commodities and across regions.

“We have to pool our resources, so we have the political might to change the future for this state,” he said, adding that Farm Bureau would continue to work closely with other agricultural organizations and partners.

In discussing the election of Donald Trump as president and the implications of the incoming administration, Wenger acknowledged concerns about trade and immigration policy. But he said the new administration would likely focus on easing the impact of federal regulation on farms and other businesses.

“We can look to the federal level to help us, but folks, all politics is local. We have to be involved, we have to be engaged and we have to invest," he said.

At the end of his speech, Wenger returned to the theme of sacrifices made by previous generations of California farmers and ranchers to allow current generations to live a better life.

“What do we give back to make sure our children and grandchildren have that same opportunity?” he asked. “The baton is in our hands. What are we going to do with it?”

A tireless advocate for Central Coast agriculture, Bob Martin, has received the Distinguished Service Award from the California Farm Bureau Federation. Martin accepted the award during the 98th CFBF Annual Meeting in Monterey last night.

Recently retired as general manager of the vegetable-growing operation Rio Farms, Martin has dedicated more than 35 years of service to Farm Bureau and other agricultural organizations. He joined the Monterey County Farm Bureau Board of Directors in the 1980s, serving as the organization’s president from 2001-03.

In nominating Martin for the award, the Monterey County Farm Bureau said his impacts on the local community “will be realized for decades,” noting that he had represented Farm Bureau and Monterey County agriculture before numerous public hearings and meetings, with a particular emphasis on water rights and right-to-farm issues.

“Bob Martin has given of himself time and again in efforts to assure a successful future for Monterey County agriculture,” CFBF President Paul Wenger said. “His volunteer service to Farm Bureau and other organizations sets an example of dedication and community involvement.”

In addition to his Farm Bureau service, Martin has served on the boards of the Grower-Shipper Association of Central California, the Salinas River Channel Coalition and Hartnell College Foundation. He has also volunteered on advisory committees including the Monterey County Ag Water Advisory Committee and California Leafy Greens Technical Advisory Committee. He served on the King City Volunteer Fire Department and as a trustee of the King City Joint Union School District.

The Distinguished Service Award has been presented annually since 1953 to dedicated Farm Bureau volunteers from California.

Monterey County Farm Bureau was recognized for excellence and innovation in service to members; the award was presented at the 98th California Farm Bureau Federation Awards Dinner in Monterey.

Monterey County Farm Bureau won County of the Year honors among county Farm Bureaus with fewer than 500 members. The county Farm Bureau maintains an active presence in local policy and media forums. It worked with members on agricultural technological innovations in part by collaborating with startup firms on tailoring products and services to the needs of local farmers. Monterey County Farm Bureau also built coalitions with environmental and land-use organizations to protect groundwater rights and diminish saltwater intrusion during discussions on a proposed desalination facility.