For 100 years the Stanislaus County Farm Bureau has done more than provide local farmers support on and off the farm as a grass-roots organization: it has given farmers a collective voice.
“The Farm Bureau serves as the voice of agriculture. When you become a member of the Bureau you become part of that collective voice and we are able to speak louder especially regarding local, state and federal legislation, which is a big reason why we exist,” said Executive Director Wayne Zipser.
Local farmers have found strength in numbers through the Stanislaus County Farm Bureau since 1914, a testament to the importance and effectiveness the organization’s role has played in agricultural developments. As integral changes have occurred in the industry, such as the surge in technology and change in mass communication, the Bureau is making even more of an effort to not only keep its farmers informed but relevant.
“Without that collective voice and organization that we have, agriculture would get left behind,” said Zipser. “As we look forward to another 100 years, we hope to leave a legacy that shows that farmers and ranchers are probably the greatest environmentalists in the world and always looking for ways to be good stewards of the land so that future generations can enjoy agriculture today and as new technologies emerge. We want to stay on the forefront of change and that’s what the Bureau does for ranchers.”
Thousands of the farmers showed their support for the Bureau earlier this month at the annual meeting in celebration of the centennial year which drew over 1,000 people — nearly five times the average attendance. Held at the Modesto Junior College West Campus Agriculture Center for Education, the centennial celebration featured trade show displays from various agriculture partners, a silent auction, a buffet as well as entertainment by Baxter Black — the industry-known American cowboy poet and radio host.
The annual meeting also marked the 50 year anniversary of board elections as a new president, two vice presidents, secretary and treasurer were elected by the Board of Directors through a nominations committee. The Board is composed of 37 members that represent the five regions of the county and demonstrates the importance of the Bureau to farmers across the Valley.
“In 100 years things may look a lot different in the Central Valley, known as the fruit basket of the world, and we have to figure out how we are going to preserve that. Our next step is to continue to shape the future generations for the next 100 years,” said Zipser.