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By Jenny Holtermann, President, Kern County Farm Bureau  

We are in the season of giving and holiday cheer. However, the farming industry isn’t quite full of hopes and blessings this year, as we are experiencing some of the lowest commodity prices in decades. With inputs higher than our return, it doesn’t seem like the time to celebrate, and as the year comes to its end, we reflect on our struggles and successes.  

Our Board of Directors went through a strategic planning session for the first time in several years. We looked at all our events, committees, and the general board directives. We analyzed the successes, struggles, areas of growth, and threats that we are facing as an organization and as an industry. There is no opportunity to grow unless we take an internal look to figure out a path forward. It isn’t always comfortable or easy, but it is often extremely necessary to build back up.  

We understand and acknowledge that KCFB has been disengaged from the community and disconnected from our members over the past years. The legislative losses, increase in regulations, environmental pressure, labor changes, and consolidation of farmers have all played a role in threatening our industry’s success. We strive to be more focused on community engagement, media involvement, member outreach, social media influence, and overall connection with our members on the key issues impacting us every day. I understand all too well these challenges and will strive to connect our farmers with the resources needed to stay farming.  

We have a strong new Executive Director, leadership that is willing to put in work, a diverse group of board members, an active and involved Young Farmers & Ranchers program, and some pretty awesome annual events. We plan to build on these strengths to help us expand our community involvement and outreach to our members.  

Stay tuned for more engagement in tailgate talks, where we will come to you with key influential community members who are willing to fight for us and want your opinions. Having stakeholders at the same table as farmers will ensure our voices and thoughts are heard. We plan to host more outreach events in our rural areas of Kern County, closer to your farms and businesses. We also have exciting ideas and areas of interest to provide more county-specific benefits and perks to your membership. It is our goal to bring you more transparency and communication. We have big dreams and plans for KCFB, as well as energy and excitement. There are positive plans for the future, and we are eager to bring you along.  

In 2024, it is our hope to provide more value to your membership in tailgate talks, connections, local benefits, collaborations, and a team willing and able to assist you. All our members are invited to participate and attend any KCFB Board of Director meeting, on the third Thursday of every month. Contact the KCFB office for more information.  

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