cover crop
(Photo: Richard Thornton /

By Rachel Nettleton, Executive Director, Kern County Farm Bureau 

I am thrilled to announce that I have been chosen to participate in this year’s Leadership Farm Bureau class. Among eight other individuals chosen from across the state of California, I am honored to represent Kern County and contribute to the agricultural community in this unique 10-month leadership development program. 

Led by the California Farm Bureau, the program was designed to invest in emerging leaders within the Farm Bureau network. Over the course of ten months, I will undergo comprehensive training and gain insights into various aspects crucial for effective leadership. 

This program encompasses a wide array of activities and workshops that focus on key areas essential for leadership growth. From governmental affairs and personal development to agriculture issues, each area of the program is designed to equip us with the skills and knowledge necessary to make a meaningful impact in our communities and beyond. 

One of the highlights of the program is the immersion into political advocacy, which includes both California and Washington, D.C. lobbying sessions. Engaging with legislative, administrative, and regulatory officials provides us with firsthand experience in policy development and implementation at both state and national levels.  

Personal development is another cornerstone of the program where we will attend workshops on media training, public speaking, and more. These sessions aim to enhance our leadership skills and equip us with the tools needed to navigate professional challenges. 

Furthermore, a special emphasis is placed on agriculture issues, where we will receive in-depth training from industry experts and gain exposure to the diverse agricultural landscape across California and even nationally in some areas. This hands-on experience will allow us to grasp the complexities of the agricultural sector and advocate effectively for farmers and ranchers. 

This year’s leadership class officially launched in Sacramento this February. There, I had the opportunity to meet my classmates from different counties and delve into the history of the California Farm Bureau and why this program was created. The sessions provided valuable insights into different leadership styles, personal goals, and the role we envision for ourselves within the agricultural community and beyond. March’s session was focused on the Capitol Ag Conference hosted by the California Farm Bureau where members had the opportunity to engage directly with key state policymakers and gain firsthand experience in legislative processes. Now that we are in April, our team is preparing to visit Washington D.C. to further explore and engage with national policymaking processes.  

I am extremely grateful for this opportunity to grow as a leader and deepen my understanding of the issues facing our agricultural community. I look forward to sharing my experiences! 

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