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Commentary: New collegiate membership offers double benefits

Issue Date: September 7, 2011
By Shannon Douglass
A new collegiate membership in Farm Bureau will allow more young people to learn the benefits of Farm Bureau membership.
Photo/Ching Lee
Shannon Douglass

As a first-generation rancher, I know the value of my Farm Bureau membership. Beyond the political advocacy and money-saving member benefits of Farm Bureau are the things you can't read about on a brochure or website: things like the competitive edge for my growing business that comes from being involved in the state's largest agricultural organization, the opportunities I never knew existed and the doors that have opened to me that I never would have even been able to knock on previously.

I was introduced to Farm Bureau through the Young Farmers and Ranchers program during college. I was very active in college at Cal State Chico, like a lot of College of Agriculture students, and was involved in a variety of clubs and groups on campus that provided me great experience and opportunity. But unfortunately, for everything except YF&R, those other groups and clubs had a life span that ended the day I received my degree. I'm thankful I spent time during my college years investing in my future through the Young Farmers and Ranchers program and Farm Bureau, involvement that is still occurring and paying dividends today.

As a way to encourage more young people to learn the benefits of Farm Bureau membership, I'm happy to announce the launch of the California Farm Bureau Federation's new collegiate membership category—a membership every college student needs if a future in agriculture is your goal.

If you spend much time with me, you'll know I love finding a good deal and Farm Bureau's new collegiate membership is exactly that. You don't have to tell a college student that today's job market is competitive—everyone is working to obtain the "edge." Student groups, clubs, internships and part-time jobs all add up to a busy schedule for students who are trying to gain as much perspective, education and hands-on experience before graduation as they possibly can. Savvy college students are looking beyond their field of study to the industry they hope to make a career in. Success in today's job market means starting early and making the connections that are going to open doors for you in the future. Membership in Farm Bureau and involvement in the YF&R program is a two-for-one deal that can help you do just that.

The CFBF Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee is excited to be part of launching this new collegiate membership. For $25, a college student receives a one-year membership to Farm Bureau and an online subscription to Ag Alert®, the leading agricultural publication in California. Discounted registration to the CFBF Annual Meeting and the YF&R Leadership Conference are also included, and involvement in your local YF&R group is absolutely free.

YF&R will be promoting the collegiate membership level at college events where we represent Farm Bureau throughout the year. These include the college and career fairs that we attend at agricultural schools across the state. We will increase these efforts and reach out to students attending both community colleges and four-year schools. At these activities, we will be promoting the numerous reasons to become a part of Farm Bureau and we hope to significantly increase participation by college students in YF&R activities.

We hope to see our new collegiate members attend local YF&R meetings, participate in the Collegiate Discussion Meet at Annual Meeting and make the trip to Modesto for our statewide YF&R Leadership Conference next March.

Collegiate membership in Farm Bureau and involvement in YF&R is a "Buy One, Get One" deal you don't want to miss. The opportunities are endless and the value to your future is priceless. I'm also proud to say that quantities are not limited and this offer does not expire.

(Shannon Douglass of Orland serves as first vice chair of the CFBF Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee.)

Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item.

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