By Timothy Collins, Chair, Kern County Young Farmers & Ranchers
The Young Farmers and Ranchers have been busy as the seasons change. Already this fall we have had a dinner and drinks social, a workday at the Edible Schoolyard, we sent members to the state YF&R Fall Regional Mixer, and we helped with Kern County Farm Bureau’s annual Bounty of the County event.
As a change from several past Saturday meetings and events, we went simple and enjoyed a social together over dinner and drinks on a Wednesday evening. Time spent talking to others in the ag industry is always well spent and getting the chance to meet several new members attending was especially encouraging.
Our Charity Farmers Market back in July benefited the Edible Schoolyard Kern County, and in late September we spent a Saturday morning volunteering at the garden. Using our donation, the Edible Schoolyard built a new raised bed portion of their garden. We spent the morning filling the new beds with dirt and laying gravel around them. We cannot wait to see how the new raised beds will look full of plants in a few months! We know the Edible Schoolyard will use them for agricultural education for the many students they serve as part of their programs and camps. These programs will instill a love in agriculture in young kids who can continue that path in high school and beyond to our own Young Farmers & Ranchers in the years ahead.
California is a diverse state when it comes to Ag, and the state’s Young Farmers & Ranchers continues to give opportunities for YF&R members to see the various agricultural operations across the state. The latest opportunity was the Fall Regional Mixer held in Fresno that our members were able to attend. The group had a fun and educational day touring Sun-Maid’s Raisin dehydrator facility, DeGroot Dairy, and Fresno State’s campus for a demonstration of an autonomous tractor. All this was followed by dinner at a pumpkin patch. We are all now looking forward to the YF&R State Conference which will be held this December in Monterey and is sure to have more great tours and networking opportunities.
October brought about Kern County Farm Bureau’s annual Bounty of the County event. Bounty serves as the Farm Bureau’s main fundraiser and is a night to showcase Ag in the community. YF&R members are always glad to volunteer at the event and host a gun raffle that also serves as a fundraiser for us. We all had a great evening recapping the year and looking forward to the next. Every year I enjoy this event more and more as I get to meet new people in the ag industry locally and catch up with those I’ve known over the years. If you are between the ages of 18-35, don’t miss these opportunities and let those years go by without getting involved and being a part of the Young Farmers & Ranchers here in Kern County!