President's Message: A Farm Bureau membership is an investment in our legacy

President's Message: A Farm Bureau membership is an investment in our legacy

Shannon Douglass

President's Message: A Farm Bureau membership is an investment in our legacy

The other night I sat down at the kitchen table with my 13-year-old to review his 4-H story for his record book. If you’ve ever been involved in 4-H, you’re intimately familiar with the vigorous and sometimes stressful process of completing the record book each year.

It’s not easy, but it’s important.

In addition to helping 4-H’ers develop the life skill of recordkeeping, the iconic book gives them an opportunity to reflect on their year, measure their achievements and growth, set goals and develop plans to meet those goals.

At California Farm Bureau, we are constantly evaluating and setting goals. And we do it together because every single one of us has a stake in protecting our diverse farming and ranching legacy, a stake in keeping agriculture a viable way of life for generations to come. It’s the very reason Farm Bureau exists and why—at the six-month point of my presidency—I’m writing this message to you.

In my son’s 4-H story, he points out that one of his long-term goals is to continue the farming tradition his dad and I began. He also shares that showing cattle and competitive swimming are his two favorite activities. Their commonality: “Only the hardest workers can succeed.”

Hard work is an agriculturalist’s daily reality. Imagine how much more difficult it would be, how much more expensive it would be without Farm Bureau working on your behalf.

Think of it this way: On our farms and in our businesses, we pay for many professional services—everyone from accountants and lawyers to veterinarians and pest control advisors. They all provide essential services, performing tasks that we either don’t have the time for or lack the expertise to tackle on our own. Similarly, Farm Bureau provides an essential service. When you consider Farm Bureau in those terms, I hope you’ll agree that the dollars you spend each year on your membership yield an excellent return on your investment.

Your investment in Farm Bureau pays off in the near term and in the long term, and includes everything from gaining access to generic crop-protection materials to the tax-saving benefits of the Williamson Act, which helps keep farmland in production. Those are just two of Farm Bureau’s legacy achievements—work done decades ago that continues to bear fruit.

Did you know that Farm Bureau’s advocacy efforts with the state’s energy providers yield an average annual savings of up to $1,100 per agricultural meter? Or that farm tax saves our members an average of nearly $2,100 each year? That, in itself, more than pays for your membership and frankly keeps our families farming.

Being a Farm Bureau member is an investment in your business, your way of life and, if you’re like me, your family legacy. The 70-plus employees at the state office, the team back in Washington, D.C., the staff at your local county Farm Bureau—they’re all working on your behalf, day in and day out.

That work is critically important. It’s tough to do business in California. It’s tough to be a farmer in California. The challenges are huge, and they’re only growing. That’s why your investment in Farm Bureau is more important than ever, so that we can continue striving for the wins—big and small.

As I said to you at last year’s Annual Meeting when I was elected as your president, I believe deeply that Farm Bureau is the critical piece of our solution moving forward. It’s not necessarily about us, because many of us will retire within the next few decades. We’ll do fine until then, but it’s about the next generation—our kids, our grandkids, our nieces and nephews or whoever comes next to take over our farms and our businesses. It’s about their ability to farm. It’s about the challenges we’ve already battled through and the groundwork we’ve laid to equip them for the challenges to come.

The huge value of Farm Bureau is our long-term benefit. The work that we do—together, now—at Farm Bureau is absolutely critical to keeping the future alive and thriving.

As my son wrote in his 4-H story, “Only the hardest workers can succeed.” I wholeheartedly believe that the ability for him and others like him to farm in California is dependent on the work Farm Bureau does today.

We’re working hard, and we are stronger together. Thank you for your continued support.

Permission for use is granted. However, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation