Assorted cruciferous vegetables at local farmers market
Assorted cruciferous vegetables at local farmers market.

By Lindsey Mebane
President, Kern County Young Farmers & Ranchers

Lindsey Mebane
Lindsey Mebane

With the first half of 2020 over, I am confident this is a year we will never forget but also a year we might not want to remember. The Young Farmers and Ranchers group has been challenged this year to stay involved and active while also adapting to the new life we are currently living. I feel that our organization has done just that in a few different ways. 

Thanks to the government issued stay-at-home orders, we were not able to hold in-person meetings for the past few months. The silver lining to that was budgeted funds for meeting meals were voted to be re- allocated to help feed people in need. The Young Farmers and Ranchers had the chance to help the community in two ways. The first way was to find somewhere to send the meals. We have worked with the Bakersfield Homeless Shelter for garden projects in the past; so they were at the top of the list. Second way we helped was through supporting a local restaurant, Mossman’s Catering. With the help of multiple people, the Young Farmers and Ranchers partnered with the Kern County Farm Bureau to feed 150 dinners to the Bakersfield Homeless Shelter provided by Mossman’s. The meal consisted of stuffed chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, and a roll—and man, did it look delicious! There were even enough funds leftover to donate to the Homeless Shelter to use at their discretion. 

There is always a lot of hype in the summer months as we typically prepare for our annual Charity Farmer’s Market. The group rallies over 4,000 lbs. of local produce to then giveaway in exchange for donations. The proceeds are used to build a garden for a deserving school or local group. We understand with these times that we will not be able to host our event as we usually do. The group is still working on an alternative, so I encourage everyone to follow our Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date on how the event will happen this year. We have all been challenged to get creative during this time. So, I am excited to see how it turns out. 

As far as I know, it is yet to be decided if the Kern County Fair will happen in 2020. With that being said, the youth of this county still have livestock projects that they are already raising, and they need our support. The Kern YF&R Ag. Grant was designed to help with offsetting some of the costs associated with raising livestock. Last year was our first year with the grant, and it was a great success. The application is still available, and if you don’t have one, please reach out to our e-mail listed at the bottom of this article. Members eligible for the grant must be a 4-H/FFA member with a livestock project destined for the Kern County Fair. Our nominating committee will review applications and choose recipients prior to the fair starting. For those of you who don’t know, livestock projects can be very expensive and with the risk of fairs getting cancelled, the exhibitors still must sell their animals. Like I mentioned in last month’s article, the Kern YF&R is looking to the community for help. We have created a GoFundMe campaign to help raise additional money to give out to our Ag. Grant recipients. If you can find it in your heart to support the livestock youth of this great county, please donate. The easiest way to find it is to visit www.gofundme.com and search for “Kern County Fair 4-H and FFA livestock support.” Your support would be greatly appreciated! 

I really hope that you all enjoy reading our articles and continue to support the Young Farmers and Ranchers. As we are always looking for tour ideas or guest speakers, if you or someone you know is interested, please send them our way.

For more information about our group and to stay up-to-date please follow our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/KernYoungFarmersAndRanchers and follow us on Instagram @kern_yfr. If you aren’t already on the e-mail list please e-mail us at kernyfr@kerncfb.com.