people at CSUB basketball game
Left to right: YF&R members Russell Todd, Christine Johnson, Katelyn Filkins, Tim Collins, and Katie Verhoef.

By Timothy Collins, Chair, Kern County Young Farmers & Ranchers

Timothy Collins
Timothy Collins Chair, Kern County Young Farmers & Ranchers

Kern County Young Farmers & Ranchers’ annual January tradition is to have our Friday night Basque Crawl as the first meeting of the year. This year was no different and we enjoyed a dinner with the setup, tri-tip, fried chicken, and of course, pickled tongue. We had a great turnout, and I met many new members who were excited to be a part of the group. Nothing feels quite so much like Kern County as a family-style Basque dinner with a group of young farmers and ranchers. Part of that feeling is finding mutual friends with new members I met that night and running into old friends at the bar. Kern County may be nearing a population of one million, but on a Friday night at Woolgrowers it sure seems small. Without many family connections or history here, being involved in groups like YF&R has helped me become a part of this close community and has made me a part of Kern County agriculture. 

Kern County YF&R sponsored the Ag Night Cal State Bakersfield basketball game again this year. CSUB Ag Night promotes ag in the community by getting ag sponsors and then giving out free tickets for the game to local 4-H and FFA members and their families. For me, that means giving tickets out to my own students, most of whom have never been to a CSUB basketball game. A group of us from YF&R attended, and once again, Bakersfield felt small as we sat right in front of Mike Poncetta, whom I worked for on the farm in my first job out of high school 11 years ago, and his wife Romi who now teaches ag at the same campus as I do.

Over the years YF&R has given out thousands of dollars in Ag Grants to 4-H and FFA students, and we will continue that tradition. This year we are excited to be adding a YF&R college scholarship as well. The application is available on with many other great local scholarships so go check them out and apply! Through fundraisers like our Third Annual Clay Shoot this month on the 11th, YF&R is growing, and we can do more for the community and offer more to our members. Thank you to everyone who is supporting us, and if you have not done so already, you may still have time to sign up or sponsor our clay shoot!

Instagram: @KernYFR
Facebook: KernYoungFarmersAndRanchers

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