The California Farm Bureau Federation is a non-governmental, non-profit, voluntary membership organization whose purpose is to protect and promote agricultural interests throughout the state of California and to find solutions to the problems of the farm, the farm home and the rural community. Farm Bureau is California's largest farm organization, comprised of 53 county Farm Bureaus. Farm Bureau strives to protect and improve the ability of farmers and ranchers engaged in production agriculture to provide a reliable supply of food and fiber through responsible stewardship of California's resources.
Numbers By The 2023 ANNUAL REPORT
from drought to drenching storms Facing challenges
E xtraordinary events that California farmers, ranchers and agricultural communities faced in 2023 underscored what the nearly 29,000 members of the California Farm Bureau already knew: Our farmers and ranchers will rise to any challenge to produce the food and fiber that America needs, even as those challenges may change dramatically. After three years of withering drought conditions, California’s farming regions faced a deluge of rain and catastrophic flooding in 2023. While welcome storms filled reservoirs, they also breached levees, flooded farm fields, damaged crops and inundated dairies. In scenes of courage and resiliency, farmers and ranchers helped their neighbors, rallying to protect lives and property and rescue livestock. California Farm Bureau, which has long fought for
building and upgrading water-storage and flood- control infrastructure, let state officials know about the consequences of delaying critical projects that could have protected communities and captured more water for dry years. The governor was convinced to sign an executive order to cut through red tape and allow farmers and ranchers to direct floodwaters to replenish groundwater supplies. Infrastructure projects, including Sites Reservoir north of Sacramento, pushed closer to fruition. And our farmers and ranchers kept working, producing the bounty that makes California America’s most important agricultural sector. Farm Bureau fought for our agricultural communities and way of life, while providing our members with our full range of services in 2023.These numbers tell the story.
As the end of 2022 neared, California was still in the grips of a devastating three-year drought that resulted in the fallowing of an estimated 1.3 million acres of farmland . and working for solutions Being resilient Then, 2023 brought the state a deluge including 31 atmospheric storms and 1 tropical storm . Statewide precipitation was 141% of normal . The Sierra Nevada snowpack peaked at 237% of normal in April. While suddenly blessed with ample water supplies for the season, farmers and ranchers faced starkly different challenges. Heavy rains in January and March caused massive flood damage in agricultural regions. In Monterey County alone, the famed vegetable-growing Salad Bowl reported $600 million in damages to crops and farm infrastructure . In the San Joaquin Valley, hundreds of millions of dollars in losses were reported as the former Tulare Lake filled with floodwaters that inundated farms and dairies. Damages in Kings and Tulare counties from March and January atmospheric storms were respectively estimated at $168 million and $76 million. In August, the freakish Tropical Storm Hilary caused severe damage to the San Joaquin Valley’s annual grape growing industry, valued at $2 billion . Wind and rain damaged 35% of grapes that remained on vines when the storm struck. In Sacramento, Farm Bureau’s Government Affairs Division worked with lawmakers, Gov. Gavin Newsom and state agencies to secure relief. Our policy advocates helped bring in $160 million in emergency aid that was added to the state budget. It included $20 million for agricultural business impacted by the storms . Another $20 million went to Monterey County for direct relief for residents in Pajaro , a farming community inundated after levee breaks on the Pajaro River. $20 million was delivered to Merced County to help residents in the flooded town of Planada. In addition, $95 million was allocated in statewide support , including for storm preparedness, response and direct relief. And $5 million was provided to the California Underserved and Small Producer Program . That included grants of up to $100,000 for small organic dairies that suffered either flooding or drought impacts.
31 atmospheric storms
1 tropical storm
141% precipitation statewide
In Washington, D.C., our Federal Policy Division worked on long-term disaster assistance for multiple events in recent years. Our team worked on legislation that helped secure $16 billion from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to distribute for numerous recovery efforts nationally, including disasters experienced in California. In addition, $549 million was distributed to California agricultural producers under the Emergency Relief Program
$160 million in emergency aid $20 million for agricultural businesses impacted by the storms $95 million allocated in statewide support
for catastrophic events, to help recover from disasters such as the devastating wildfires in 2020 and 2021. Funding included $171 million for specialty crop growers impacted by disasters. In addition, millions of Californians in 44 counties affected by 2023 flooding were offered extensions until November to submit individual and business tax returns to the Internal Revenue Service.
As the Farm Bureau team responded to dramatic events of 2023, the steady, day-to-day work of sustaining California’s critical agriculture economy and livelihoods of our farmers, ranchers and agricultural workforce continued, with Farm Bureau actions producing results. to our agricultural future Staying committed
responsibilities to potential litigation. Additionally, Farm Bureau helped lead a 200-member agriculture, water and business coalition in defeating 2 bills that would have given state officials new powers to halt water diversions for farming while depriving water-rights holders of due process.
In Sacramento, Farm Bureau’s Government Affairs Division staff attended 123 committee meetings and 71 regulatory hearings , made 14 conference presentations and wrote 76 letters involving legislative matters. In Washington D.C., Farm Bureau’s Federal Policy Division organized 20 group meetings at offices of members of Congress through our “County Leaders” program, which connects agricultural producers in California counties with lawmakers and federal agency officials. The federal team also had hundreds of calls , virtual and in- person meetings and helped arrange testimony and attendance at 3 Congressional hearings in California—including 2023 Farm Bill sessions with the House Agricultural Committee at Yosemite National Park, in Red Bluff and at the World Ag Expo in Tulare. In addition, Farm Bureau and California Bountiful Foundation staff led 5 California farm tours and 3 cattle and dairy tours for state lawmakers and legislative staffers. Farm Bureau’s Farm Employers Labor Service (FELS) focused on new and innovative approaches to help California agricultural employers navigate tight labor markets, safety regulations and other challenges during 2023. FELS labor management consultants made some 2,000 worksite visits , providing training on safety, workplace harassment prevention, good management practices and positive relationships between supervisors and employees. Our actions produced results. At the California Capitol, the governor signed 3 Farm Bureau sponsored bills . The first, Senate Bill 505 . expanded commercial insurance coverage options, including for farms and ranches. The legislation was a follow-up to Farm Bureau-sponsored SB 11 in 2021, which allowed farmers and ranchers denied insurance market renewals after wildfires to obtain coverage under the California Fair Access to Insurance Requirements Plan. Second, Gov. Newsom signed Farm Bureau’s agricultural drone bill, Assembly Bill 1016 , to modernize the certification process for farmers to use drones when applying pesticides and beneficial biological treatments on farms. Lastly, the governor signed AB 606, which extended the sunset on accidental take provisions of the California Endangered Species Act. Without this extension, many ag operations would grind to a halt. For 13 years , the California Farm Bureau has been pushing the State Water Resources Control Board to allow our farmers to use their land to recharge aquifers. This year, our efforts finally bore fruit as the governor signed executive orders easing permit requirements to allow farmers to use floodwater diversions to recharge groundwater, resulting in 40,000 acre-feet of additional recharge in the San Joaquin Valley during the spring and summer. This was later enshrined into law as part of the budget process. Farm Bureau also persuaded the governor to veto 2 bills: SB 799 , which would have allowed striking workers to collect unemployment benefits, and AB 524 , which would have exposed agricultural employees with family caregiver
Our advocacy also helped generate returns. In Washington, D.C., $508 million in funding was approved for 24 water infrastructure projects in California under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. An additional $250 million was allocated for rice producers, including hard-hit California growers who fallowed fields during drought, under the Farm Service Agency’s Rice Production Program based on planted and “prevented-planted” acres. Another $95 million was provided in 34 California grants for federal wildfire defense initiatives. Some $140 million was allocated for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s WaterSMART program for water-conservation and efficiency projects in the West, including for 31 California projects . An additional $88 million was secured for expanded fertilizer production and $25 million for California under the Organic Dairy Marketing Assistance Program. Additionally, 127,000 California homes and businesses were provided the chance to receive expanded broadband access through the Treasury Department’s Capital Projects Fund. This year’s state budget included $75 million in grants and rebates for reducing emissions, with the money going to help farmers and ranchers purchase low-emission harvesting equipment, tractors, heavy-duty trucks and other equipment. Another $50 million was allocated to support the Healthy Soils Program for farmers. $40 million was provided to the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program. $25 million was budgeted to support strategies, such as feed additives, for enteric emissions reduction in the livestock sectors. $14.5 million was provided to support the Pollinator Habitat Program. Meanwhile, $2.5 million was secured for farmworker housing development in San Mateo County and the City of Half Moon Bay. The state also invested $180 million to promote recovery of native fish species in the Sacramento-San Joaquin watershed.
in courts and hearing rooms Advocating for farmers
California Farm Bureau’s Legal Services Division lawyers and staff made 44 courtroom appearances and testified or participated in 90 regulatory sessions , workshops or legislative hearings on behalf of California agriculture and Farm Bureau members.
Farm Bureau’s legal team attended 2,300 hours of regulatory hearings and meetings , wrote 1,700 pages of briefs , letters and other documents , and reviewed 26,000 pages of legal materials and state and federal legislation . Our legal advocacy before the California Public Utilities Commission, the Legislature and other agencies helped generate tens of millions of dollars in electricity cost savings for agricultural customers. Farm Bureau also joined in several amicus curiae (friend-of-the-court) briefs in state and federal courts addressing environmental and water-rights issues. Our legal team additionally brought successful litigation before the state 3 rd District Court of Appeal , prevailing with a ruling that established a favorable legal precedent for water-quality regulations.
6000 new advocates were brought on to Farm Bureau’s political action network, FarmTeam, to lend their voice to critical issues. FarmTeam members sent 22,729 letters to state lawmakers and agency officials from 23 FarmTeam Alerts , a 23% increase over 2022. FarmPac generated financial contributions from 1,280 donors , an 18% increase over 2022.
for science and research Sowing seeds
In the second year after its relaunch, the California Bountiful Foundation , the 501(c)(3) nonprofit scientific, research and education arm of the California Farm Bureau, built on its research initiatives and outreach programs to support farmers, ranchers and timber producers.
One of the programs receiving funds through Foundation-generated grants is Expanding Our Roots—Farm Bureau’s Beginning Farmer & Rancher program that connects farmers and ranchers with fewer than 10 years’ experience with mentors in agriculture.
Grant funds will also support a pilot program, backed by Farm Bureau, to enroll a select number of farms in a program designed to quantify carbon stored in orchard and grapevine crops in California. Other grant funds awarded from the Healthy Soils Program will support carbon-sequestration management practices on 20 to 45 citrus orchards in 10 California counties . The Foundation continues to partner with Californians for Smart Pesticide Policy in supporting economic studies and analyses of agriculture and water resources in California. In addition, the California Bountiful Foundation supported 2 new studies in 2023. It awarded over $500,000 to a scientific team at California Polytechnic University, Humboldt for a five-year research project on the benefits of grazing in wetlands. The Foundation also initiated a data-based analysis of water use in California agriculture, which showed that farmers and ranchers use only 15% of total water that the state receives. It is working to publish the research findings, which contradict oft-repeated stereotypes for agricultural use.
In 2023, the Foundation secured over
in grants and applied for additional funding for new endeavors. $6 million
and providing services knowledge
Farm Bureau in 2023 provided educational opportunities for members and aspiring farmers and ranchers and supported school agriculture programs. Along the way, we made benefits available to our members and helped celebrate agriculture—from honoring farmland scenes to saluting the quintessential farm dog. Farm Bureau Extension’s 2023 series attracted 1,901 class registrations from 313 participants for 10 continuing education sessions . Meanwhile, Farm Bureau held 4 retirement plan webinars and conducted 27 farm and ranch health and safety seminars in English and Spanish. The California Farm Bureau Scholarship Foundation awarded $195,000 in scholarships to 40 students who intend to pursue careers as farmers, ranchers or in occupations related to agriculture. Farm Bureau also awarded 75 collegiate memberships to California FFA members who attended the Sacramento Leadership Experience conference. Our Young Farmers & Ranchers organization hosted 32 attendees at the YF&F Leaders Meeting in Fresno in July, which included farm tours, leadership development sessions, networking and program planning. In a partnership with Nationwide, Farm Bureau members raised nearly $34,000 for the Blue Jacket Bonanza program. Throughout the year, Farm Bureau awarded over 200 FFA jackets to regional and sectional officers in California. The California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom program, supported by Farm Bureau, attracted 20,000 students throughout California to tune into California Farm Day presentations to celebrate agriculture and learn how the weather impacts California agriculture. 213 agriculture teachers attended the state Ag in the Classroom Conference in Sacramento, 65% being first-time attendees . Ag in the Classroom awarded $52,500 to 425 educators throughout California through grants to expand agricultural literacy efforts in 2023. 25 teachers were awarded Literacy for Life grants, and 400 teachers received Taste and Teach Grants. 12,031 teachers viewed Ag in the Classroom resources on the Teachers Pay Teachers online marketplace, downloading more than 15,723 resources and lesson plans . More than 100,000 copies of Agriculture in the Classroom’s 16-page educational newspaper What’s Growin’ On? were distributed.
in cash prizes for the Annual Photo Contest $2,500
1901 Farm Bureau
Extension’s series class registrations
45 canine contenders for the 4th Annual Farm Dog contest
Meanwhile, Farm Bureau hosted its 42nd annual photo contest, awarding $2,500 in cash prizes . The contest drew 64 participants , including 4 budding artist contestants , with 183 photos submitted, double the number of submissions from 2022. The 4th Annual Farm Dog of the Year contest drew 45 canine contenders , with $1,000 awarded to the grand prize winner. In 2023, Farm Bureau provided 32 benefit offerings for members. They included Farm Bureau Retirement Plan benefits administered by Nationwide, citizenship services through the National Immigration Forum for employees of Farm Bureau members, plus home, auto, apparel and travel discounts, including savings up to 30% at Great Wolf Lodge resorts.
of our farmers, ranchers Elevating the story
Farm Bureau’s marketing, communications and publications teams chronicled contributions of California farmers and ranchers and helped generate attention to critical issues affecting America’s most productive agricultural sector.
Communications staff fielded more than 125 media inquiries from more than 60 news organizations . In addition, the marketing and communications team distributed 34 news releases and uploaded 1,895 social media posts to 52,594 followers on California Farm Bureau and California Bountiful channels. Farm Bureau media products won 4 top awards in a national competition sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation, bringing home prizes for best newspaper for Ag Alert , best magazine for California Bountiful , best video news story for California Bountiful TV and best website for Farm Bureau’s marketing and communications team. Our Ag Alert newspaper published 46 issues , including 980 pages , 728 articles and 651 photographs . The six issues of California Bountiful magazine featured 92 stories for our non-farm readers and 31 recipes using California
farm products. Additionally, the Farm Bureau logo was included on 24 of the stories to designate Farm Bureau members. The marketing and sales teams joined to enhance exposure for the magazine and the TV show at the Capitol Mall Farmers Market in Sacramento, distributing free magazines and presenting 2 raffle winners with California Bountiful subscriptions. An estimated 2.5 million viewers turned in for episodes of the California Bountiful television program, which was broadcast in 14 “over the air” media outlets in California and nationally via RFD TV. California Bountiful TV produced 20 brand-new episodes , featuring 108 new segments , totaling 486 minutes of content . The California Farm Bureau website drew 279,649 page views . The Ag Alert website had 161,908 page views and the California Bountiful site had 106,866 page views . Combined, our websites totaled 548,423 views .
20 new episodes of California Bountiful TV 92
> California Farm Bureau
> Ag Alert
> California Bountiful
279,649 page views on the California Farm Bureau website
stories in California Bountiful 728 articles published in Ag Alert
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