Representatives from the California Farm Bureau Federation can be found at the State Capitol several times per year, but their most recent trip to the Capitol allowed CFBF members to talk directly to legislators about emerging agriculture issues.
CFBF staffers and members were welcomed to tour the Capitol as part of the 2019 Leaders Conference which took place the second week in March. It was also an opportunity to announce the 2019 Leadership Farm Bureau Class which consists of 10 members from counties stretching across the state. The goal of the leadership program is to have the members build their knowledge of the industry as well as their background in communication, team building, advocating for the industry and the Farm Bureau organization.
The conference served as a hub for the new leadership class, CFBF staff, members and legislators to all meet in one place. With new faces at the Capitol including Governor Gavin Newsom and other elected officials, the Farm Bureau staff is beginning to work on building those new relationships.
California Farm Bureau President Jamie Johansson said, “Now we have a new administration, and the first thing we can do in the beginning part of a new administration is meet them, have those conversations and then the ball really is in their court, and we look forward at Farm Bureau this year in perusing that.”
More than 150 members walked the Capitol and had meetings with more than 100 legislators regarding water, farm labor, environmental issues, fees as well as other regulations and policies.
Before their tour, attendees tuned into issues at advisory committee meetings, a keynote address by Johansson as well as sessions that featured state representatives including Dorene D’Adamo, of the State Water Resource Control Board and Wade Crowfoot who is the Secretary of California Natural Resource Agencies.
Overall, the take away from the conference was hope and optimism that farmers were going to have a seat at the table when it came it solving issues. Secretary Crowfoot invited farmers to be included in conversations and Farm Bureau has already met with the governor a couple of times, one of which was in the farming community of Fresno.
The invitations and meetings served as a good starting point, but Farm Bureau isn’t going to hold their breath and will continue to fight to be heard. Johansson said farmers must be optimistic, to keep the fight going.
“It’s the same, it’s trust but verified,” Johansson said. “There was a lot more hope in terms of what we were hearing. But again, we’ve heard it before, and we want to give them the opportunity to really produce.”