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San Luis Obispo County Agriculture News

July 31, 2023


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The 78th annual California Mid-State Fair is in the books! Check out results from all the livestock auctions and competitions here. Thank you to all the Farm Bureau members who volunteered at the fair! San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau was a proud sponsor of the Junior Livestock Auction (pictured above) on Saturday, July 29. Congratulations to Maeve Holden who was the winner of our new member prize drawing!

Vesicular Stomatitis Virus Case Confirmed in San Luis Obispo County

July 25, 2023 - California Department of Food and Agriculture

Vesicular Stomatitis (VS) has been confirmed in the county of San Luis Obispo on July 25, 2023. The National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa first confirmed VS in California in the county of San Diego on May 17, 2023. 


Vesicular stomatitis (VS) is a viral disease that primarily affects horses and cattle and occasionally swine, sheep, goats, llamas, and alpacas. Humans can also become infected with the disease when handling affected animals, but this is a rare event. To avoid exposure to this disease, individuals should use personal protective measures when handling affected animals.


California Cases

  • San Luis Obispo County (New Infected County) – 1 confirmed positive equine premises
  • Santa Barbara County (New Infected County) – 1 confirmed positive equine premises  
  • Ventura County – 1 new confirmed positive and 2 new suspect Since the last situation report (7/21/2023), the following previously confirmed positive or suspect premises have been released from quarantine: 1 premises in Los Angeles County, 1 premises in Orange County, 2 premises in San Bernardino County, 1 premises in San Diego County, and 1 premises in Ventura County.  

Please find attached the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) July 25, 2023 Situation Report for details. Additional information can be found on the USDA Vesicular Stomatitis webpage.


CDFA recommends increased vigilance for VS in California. Please report any suspicious lesions immediately to ensure accurate diagnostic testing and implementation of initial biosecurity measures. Report any suspicious lesions to the Ontario District Office – see below. CDFA developed the “Recommended Biosecurity Measures for Equine Events during a Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (VSV) Outbreak in California, which has been distributed to all equine event managers that have registered shows with CDFA – refer to attachment. Refer to the CDFA webpage for additional biosecurity instructions. Another preventative measure is keeping insect population down – see attachments on fly control. Additionally, I am sharing with you an informative United States Equestrian Federation (UCEF) sponsored Vesicular Stomatitis: What You Need to Know webinar presented by both UCEF and USDA. 


Updates and information about VS and California cases are made available on the CDFA Vesicular Stomatitis webpage

Central Coast sees first confirmed cases of vesicular stomatitis in livestock

Cases of vesicular stomatitis have been confirmed in both San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties this week. This is a viral disease that mostly impacts horses, cattle and swine.

Read More

Vesicular Stomatitis Virus Fact Sheet

This Week In SLO County Agriculture

In This Week's Issue:

  • Community: AgWest Farm Credit Awards $2.5 Million to 40 Organizations, Including SLO High School
  • Local Government: SLO County Receives $2.8 Million Grant for Wildfire Fuel Reduction 
  • State Government: 2024 Statewide Ballot Initiative - Update
  • Federal Government: Agriculture Appropriations Bill in Jeopardy Amid GOP Divisions
  • Business Member Spotlight: PG&E
  • Environmental: Keeping Contentious Nuclear Plant Open Could Cost Californians $45B: Report
  • Produce: UC Davis Releases 5 Strawberry Varieties Resistant to Deadly Fungal Disease
  • Featured Member Benefit: RespondR- Parrott Health
  • Labor: As Extreme Heat Threatens Workers' Health, California Legislators, Activists Push for Nationwide Protections
  • Wildfire: Why California is Having its Best Wildfire Season in 25 Years
  • Livestock: UC Cooperative Extension's Summer 2023 Livestock, Range and Watershed Newsletter
  • Water: Water Board OKs Cleanup Settlement of 'Forever' Chemicals Near SLO Airport

July 24 Most-Read

1. 2023 Agriculturalist, CattleWoman, and Cattleman of the Year Named

2. Central Coast crops recovering from historic winter storms

3. Solar panels on water canals seem like a no-brainer. So why aren’t they widespread?

4. San Luis Obispo County wine industry to recognize leaders at California Mid-State Fair

5. Representative Panetta Leads Bipartisan Coalition to Introduce Legislation that Expands Access to Agriculture Conservation Programs

6. Arroyo Grande Creek will undergo a two-stage sediment removal and levee repair process as county Public Works assesses post-rainstorm damage

7. Avocado Growers Free Seminar LIVE in the Field at Cal Poly- Wed. Aug 2

8. Central Coast Wine Grape Market: What You Need to Know for 2023

9. Officials say hepatitis A outbreak linked to frozen organic strawberries is growing

10. How Is Demand Management Developing in SGMA Groundwater Sustainability Plans

Executive Director Report

Here are a few things we worked on this week:

  • Volunteered at the Market Steer Show at the California Mid-State Fair
  • Monitored the Shandon-San Juan Water District meeting
  • Monitored the Paso Basin Cooperative Committee meeting
  • Monitored the SLO County Planning Commission meeting
  • Sponsored the Junior Livestock Sale at the California Mid-State Fair and recruited 9 new Farm Bureau members

Calendar- Upcoming Events & Deadlines:

  • August 22- SLO County Farm Bureau Board Meeting (at office, 4875 Morabito Place SLO, CA 93401; all members welcome-please RSVP via email or phone call)
  • September 18 - Deadline to apply for the USDA Farm Service Agency’s Emergency Loan Program
  • October 13 - Deadline to apply for the USDA Farm Service Agency's Emergency Conservation Program for January, February and March 2023 storm damages in SLO County

Community: AgWest Farm Credit Awards $2.5 Million to 40 Organizations, Including SLO High School

Over 25 Farming Robots to be Featured at FIRA USA 2023 this Fall in Salinas - California Ag Network

Weeding, harvesting, picking, carrying,... Robots are today's answer to many challenges facing agriculture. And they will show up this fall in Salinas for the second edition of FIRA USA. From September 19 to 21, the Salinas Sports Complex, home of the famous California Rodeo Salinas, will be the place to discover the autonomous farming solutions in action.

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☀️Join the SLO Food System Coalition For Their Summer Social!

The FSC is fiscally sponsored by Check out their website to learn more about this awesome local organization! What does this mean? To promote a sustainable food system that is equitable, profitable, resilient, and health promoting in the County of San Luis Obispo.

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AgWest Farm Credit Awards $2.5 Million to 40 Organizations, Including SLO High School


Spokane, Washington (July 24, 2023) – Guided by their Local Advisory Committee (LAC), AgWest Farm Credit is proud to award $2.5 million to 40 organizations in communities throughout the West.


As a cooperative, AgWest’s purpose is to champion agriculture by serving as the most trusted resource, helping their customers, employees and communities thrive. In pursuit of this purpose, AgWest developed a unique stewardship giving program dedicated to helping rural communities.


The program is guided by LAC members who are customer-members of AgWest and provide feedback from their local communities to the AgWest board of directors and leadership team. Over the past several months, LAC members reviewed a robust list of worthy community applicants and recommended local organizations to receive awards. Funds from these awards will be used for a wide range of community projects, including replacing equipment for multiple volunteer fire departments, a new ambulance purchase, vans to transport FFA students, a box truck for a local food bank and welding booths at a small, rural high school.

San Luis Obispo High School was awarded $64,000, which the Industrial Technology Department will use to purchase 10 multi-process welding stations.


“Supporting our rural communities is vital to the continued success of agriculture," said Mark Littlefield, President and CEO of AgWest. "We thank our LAC members for dedicating their time and providing essential input that guides our giving and ensures funds are used to make a significant impact in the communities they support."


A list of the 2023 recipient organizations for the LAC-guided giving program can be viewed here


For more information about AgWest community engagement and current grant and scholarship opportunities, visit AgWestFC.com.

Cattlemen and Farmer's Day recognizes industry leaders * Paso Robles Press

Friends and family gathered on Thursday, July 20, for the annual countywide reunion — the California Mid-State Fair (CMSF) Cattlemen and Farmer’s Day. Held near the Livestock Gate, the over-50-year-old tradition celebrates the backbone of the county, our farmers and ranchers.

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Templeton High School sweeps JB Dewar Tractor Restoration Program at California Mid-State Fair * Paso Robles Press

Paso Robles Press is the daily online news source and weekly print newspaper for the Paso Robles area, serving the community since 1889.

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Local Government: SLO County Receives $2.8 Million Grant for Wildfire Fuel Reduction 

SLO County Receives $2.8 Million Grant for Wildfire Fuel Reduction 

Courtesy of San Luis Obispo County Fire Safe Council's Executive Director Dan Turner

On July 26, SLO County received notification from Cal-Fire it has been awarded a $2.8 million Wildfire Fuel Reduction grant. See the full project list here


This project will provide 30 treatments to enhance wildfire protection for 17 WUI communities at risk and more than 2,400 structures in SRA and 955 in LRA/SRA fringe by treating a total of 1,320 acres of hazardous fuels including 44 miles (411 acres) of roadside and 885 acres of hazardous fuels reduction.


Projects focus on Very High and High Fire Hazard Severity Zone’s areas and are consistent with CAL FIRE-SLU Unit Fire Plan; Priority Landscapes, PG&E Tier 2 & 3 areas, 2019 Countywide CWPP, 2020 San Luis Obispo County Safety Element and Local Hazard Mitigation Plan, and the Wildfire and Forest Resilience Action Plan where previous high consequence fires have burned in the county. 

Thirty treatments will include:

  • Prescribed grazing, hand crews, mechanical treatment (mastication/crushing), chippers, and arborists to improve emergency access/egress for public and responders on 44 miles of roadside; 
  • 160 acres of dead and dying eucalyptus trees; 
  • 225 acres of woodland shaded fuel break (125 acres are LRA in Salinas river and 30 acres in San Luis creek in city of San Luis Obispo where more than 200 fires have occurred in the last 3 years due to homeless issues); and 
  • 500 acres of prescribed fire prep on shrublands throughout San Luis Obispo County.


The treatments will be in 17 communities at risk (Santa Margarita; Pozo; Parkhill; Nipomo; Arroyo Grande; Adelaide; Oak Shores; Paso Robles; Avila Beach; Pismo Beach; Huasna; Cayucos; San Luis Obispo; Lake Nacimiento; Heritage Ranch; Creston; and Templeton).


SLO County’s $321,988 grant request for Wildfire and Wildland-Urban Interface Risk Assessment Planning was not approved for funding. 

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State Government: 2024 Statewide Ballot Initiative - Update

California Farm Bureau's Farm Bureau at Work - State Government Affairs Weekly Update

July 28, 2023


A portion of Los Angeles County has been placed under quarantine for the Tau fruit fly (Zeugodacus tau group) following the detection of more than 20 flies in the unincorporated area of Stevenson Ranch, near the city of Santa Clarita. The quarantine area measures 79 square miles, bordered on the north by Castaic Junction; on the south by Oat Mountain; on the west by Del Valle; and on the east by Honby Ave. A link to the quarantine map may be found here: https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/plant/tau/regulation.html

This the first Tau fruit fly quarantine ever in the Western Hemisphere. The fly is native to Asia and is a serious pest for agriculture and natural resources, with a very wide host range, including numerous fruits and vegetables as well as a select range of native plants in California. It’s believed the fly was introduced by travelers bringing uninspected produce into the state — a common pathway for invasive species.

To prevent the spread of this invasive species, residents living in the quarantine area are urged not to move any fruits and vegetables from their property. They may be consumed or processed (i.e. juiced, frozen, cooked, or ground in the garbage disposal) at the property where they were picked. Otherwise, they should be disposed-of by double-bagging in plastic and placing the bags in a bin specifically for garbage.

Following the principles of Integrated Pest Management, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, working in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture and the Los Angeles County Agricultural Commissioner, will utilize a multi-tiered approach to eliminate the Tau fruit fly and prevent its spread to new areas. On properties within 200 meters of detections, staff will cut host fruit and vegetables to inspect for any fruit fly larvae that may be present. Additionally, properties within 200 meters of detections will be treated with a naturally derived organic-approved material known as Spinosad, which will help remove any live adult fruit flies and reduce the density of the population. Finally, fly traps that incorporate a pheromone lure and a minute amount of pesticide will be used in a wider part of the treatment area. Further information about this invasive species is available online here.

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2024 Statewide Ballot Initiative - Update

"Calif. to vote on full repeal of Prop. 8 in 2024" By Daniel Gligich, San Joaquin Valley Sun, July 26, 2023 California voters will have their voices heard on removing language from the California Constitution defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

Read More

Should California use bond money to cover its budget deficits?

As politicians may be tempted to borrow money to cover years of budget deficits, but that would be a misuse of the state's bonding authority.

Read More

Federal Government: Agriculture Appropriations Bill in Jeopardy Amid GOP Divisions

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Commentary: Diverse coalition works to pass 'effective' farm bill

The American Farm Bureau Federation has launched a campaign calling on Congress to pass the 2023 Farm Bill, saying farms growing America’s food supply are critical to the economy.

Read More

Agriculture Appropriations Bill in Jeopardy Amid GOP Divisions

Plans to move an appropriations bill funding agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to the House floor were brought to a halt amid internal GOP division over whether to further slash spending and a provision related to abortion. The House Rules Committee - the last stop before a bill hits the House floor...

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Spartz Ag Appropriations Amendment Ignites Checkoff Debate -

The cattle industry is speaking out against a proposed amendment to the ag appropriations bill, and ......Victoria Spartz, the amendment ......

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Business Member Spotlight:


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Pacific Gas and Electric Company, incorporated in California in 1905, is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric energy companies in the United States. Based in Oakland, the company is a subsidiary of PG&E CorporationOpens in new Window.. 

There are approximately 23,000 employees who carry out Pacific Gas and Electric Company's primary business—the transmission and delivery of energy. The company provides natural gas and electric service to approximately 16 million people throughout a 70,000-square-mile service area in northern and central California.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company and other energy companies in the state are regulated by the California Public Utilities CommissionOpens in new Window.. The CPUC was created by the state Legislature in 1911.

Fast Facts

  • Service area stretches from Eureka in the north to Bakersfield in the south, and from the Pacific Ocean in the west to the Sierra Nevada in the east.
  • 106,681 circuit miles of electric distribution lines and 18,466 circuit miles of interconnected transmission lines.
  • 42,141 miles of natural gas distribution pipelines and 6,438 miles of transmission pipelines.
  • 5.5 million electric customer accounts.


PHONE: 415-973-1000

Environmental: Keeping Contentious Nuclear Plant Open Could Cost Californians $45B: Report

Keeping Contentious Nuclear Plant Open Could Cost Californians $45B: Report

Extending operations of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant through 2045 could cost California ratepayers as much as $45 billion, a new report has found. The state's biggest utility, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), is currently in the process of seeking a license renewal that could enable the aging facility to run for another 20...

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2021 EPA Emissions Inventory Demonstrates Agriculture's Continuing Advancements in Sustainability

Once again, U.S. agriculture represents just 10% of total U.S. emissions when compared to other economic sectors.

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California, other states move to block 3M's $10.3 billion PFAS deal

A group of 22 states and U.S. territories moved to block a proposed $10.3 billion settlement that would resolve claims against 3M Co over water pollution tied to PFAS "forever chemicals".

Read More

Produce: UC Davis Releases 5 Strawberry Varieties Resistant to Deadly Fungal Disease

UC Davis Releases 5 Strawberry Varieties Resistant to Deadly Fungal Disease

DAVIS, Calif. -- The strawberry varieties UC Eclipse, UC Golden Gate, UC Keystone, UC Monarch and UC Surfline are available for sale to California nurseries...

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CFIA Temporary Control Measures for Romaine Lettuce - Western Growers Association

During the period of September 28 to December 20, 2023, romaine lettuce growers in counties Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, San Benito and Monterey in the Salinas Valley must conform to the following points to have produce accepted into Canada.

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Strawberry Consumption May Improve Cognitive Function in Older Adults, New Study Says

Daily strawberry consumption was linked to improved cognitive function, lower blood pressure and higher antioxidant capacity in a randomized clinical trial presented today at Nutrition 2023, the annual meeting of the American Society of Nutrition (ASN). ...

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Thank You Farm Bureau Members

Renewing Agricultural Members

Matt Trevisan, Maeve Holden, Kelly Work, Eric Pulse, Lawrence Honerkamp, MCZ Reliability, Remy Wicks State Farm, Martin J Brown Services,

and Chuck Sawyer

Renewing Associate Member

John Giacomazzi, Bob Keulen, and Olson Garcia

SLO County Farm Bureau Business Support Member List

Featured Member Benefit:

RespondR-Parrot Health

As a Farm Bureau member, you now have access to RespondR, the most cutting-edge emergency response platform on the market today. You can SAVE 50% on membership prices with the special

annual rate for Farm Bureau members. Our easy-to-use platform works on iPhone, Android, and wearables and is excellent for keeping the whole family safe. With a simple button press, your profile and exact GPS location will be forwarded to first responders readily equipped for any emergency. Additionally, up to five emergency contacts of your choosing can be notified with a nonemergency check-in button.

Visit https://parrothealth.com/cafb

See All Farm Bureau Member Benefits & Discounts Here!

Labor: As Extreme Heat Threatens Workers' Health, California Legislators, Activists Push for Nationwide Protections

Ag Employment News

July 23, 2023 – California Farm Bureau’s Farm Employers Labor Service

CA Providing Free Legal Services for Undocumented Farm Employees: On July 19, the office of Governor Newsom announced a $4.5 million pilot program "to provide free immigration legal assistance to farmworkers who are involved in state labor investigations." It isn't clear what the funding source for this program is, or how it relates to or supplements services offered by various free legal aid services available throughout the state or how it relates existing enforcement of 56 separate provisions of the California Labor Code and Industrial Welfare Commission wage orders, including Labor Code section 1019 prohibiting "unfair immigration-related practices." According to Governor Newsom, "farmworkers are the backbone of our economy and we won’t stand by as bad actors use the threat of deportation as a form of exploitation. In the absence of Congress modernizing our broken, outdated immigration system, California continues our efforts to support immigrant families." FELS parent organization, California Farm Bureau, has long supported federal legislative solutions to provide earned legal status to undocumented farm employees, offering them the best possible protection against unfair immigration-related practices. You can read more here.

Top Ten Pesticide Violations of 2022: The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) recently posted Top 10 Agricultural Pesticide Use Violations of 2022 to its website. Some were paperwork violations like failing to have a copy of the registered labeling covering its use at the use site, pesticide use reporting, and failure by a pesticide control business to register with the county ag commissioner. You can review the CDPR presentation here.

CA Supreme Court Keeps Representative PAGA Claims Alive When Individual Claims Go to Arbitration: When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Viking River Cruises v. Moriana that federal law preempts California's efforts to restrain arbitration agreements covering workplace disputes, the Court indicated it's view that Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) claims representing other employees would not have standing. Justice Sotomayor noted that "California courts ...will have the last word." Proving Justice Sotomayor right, the California Supreme Court has ruled in Adolph v. Uber Technologies that where a PAGA action is compromised of individual and representative claims compelling a plaintiff to follow the requirements of an arbitration agreement with regard to that employee's individual claims does not necessarily invalidate related representative claims. So an employer may succeed in having an employee's dispute channeled into arbitration, but will still face possible PAGA claims against him from the putative class represented by the employee who must now go to arbitration. The level of traffic in PAGA representative actions will likely increase, as any plaintiff's attorney will certainly throw the PAGA "kitchen sink" into every claim. You can read more here.

CAFB Labor Availability & Cost Survey Available Now! FELS parent organization, California Farm Bureau, has released a new survey for California agricultural employers. The survey is intended to get employer feedback on their experience with hiring enough employees to operate their businesses. To the degree they were not able to do that, respondents will be asked what they did to address that problem; increase wages and benefits, automate some tasks or turn to labor-saving technologies, switch to less labor-intensive commodities, turn to the H-2A program, or simply do without.

Survey responses are completely anonymous, but your experience is key to Farm Bureau's efforts to advocate for solutions for California farmers and ranchers. You can find more information about the survey here. Please take the survey today!

As Extreme Heat Threatens Workers' Health, California Legislators, Activists Push for Nationwide Protections

Federal lawmakers introduced legislation to require OSHA protections for indoor and outdoor laborers across the nation during high temperatures.

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Farm labor bills in Congress face a tough path to passage

More than three decades into a congressional stalemate on immigration reform, a nationwide farm labor shortage has contributed to a flurry of legislative action in Washington this year.

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Wildfire: Why California is Having its Best Wildfire Season in 25 Years

Why California is Having its Best Wildfire Season in 25 Years

It’s nearly August, but one familiar summer trend has been very scarce this year: wildfires.

California is off to its slowest start to fire season in 25 years.

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US and Canadian firefighters working together to tackle wildfires

In Val-d'Or, Quebec, just outside the fire zone, Scripps News spoke with officials to see what these U.S. crews are up against.

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California Ramps Up Wildfire Prevention Work | California Governor

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: California is scaling up work to prepare, prevent, and mitigate the threat of wildfire - investing in more projects throughout the state to help protect underserved communities...

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Livestock: UC Cooperative Extension's Summer 2023 Livestock, Range and Watershed Newsletter

Fair taking steps to prevent vesicular stomatitis * Paso Robles Press

Paso Robles Press is the daily online news source and weekly print newspaper for the Paso Robles area, serving the community since 1889.

Read More

Water: Water Board OKs Cleanup Settlement of 'Forever' Chemicals Near SLO Airport

Cleanup and Abatement Agreement Reached for PFAS at San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport

On July 21, 2023, the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board (Central Coast Water Board) ratified a Voluntary Cleanup and Abatement Agreement with San Luis Obispo County (County) and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) to address per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) contamination from the use of fire-fighting foam during training activities and operations at the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport.

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Water Board OKs Cleanup Settlement of 'Forever' Chemicals Near SLO Airport

Cleaning up the toxic "forever" chemicals at and around the San Luis Obispo airport will likely take decades, but a recently ratified voluntary agreement aims...

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Farm Bureau Membership Matters

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We cannot support your freedom to farm and ranch without your membership.

Join SLO County Farm Bureau now or renew your membership online. Go to slofarmbureau.org to join, or download the membership form PDF.

Have your renewal notice available to speed up the process; you will need to enter your membership number, name and ZIP code. Renewal dues may be paid online or over the phone by credit card.

We're here to help! Call us if you need us to lookup your member number or we can process your membership for you, at 805-543-3654.

All California county Farm Bureau memberships are processed through the California Farm Bureau Federation, but please reach out to our SLO County office if you need your membership number or have questions.

Join or Renew Your San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau Membership

Thank You Platinum Members

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SLO County Agriculture News is distributed by SLO County Farm Bureau for information purposes only. Stories written by SLO County Farm Bureau may be reprinted with attribution. Some outside story links may require site registration. Opinions expressed in stories, commentaries or editorials included in this newsletter do not necessarily represent the views of SLO County Farm Bureau. For information on advertising opportunities, please email info@slofarmbureau.org or call our office at 805-543-3654.

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