San Luis Obispo County Agriculture News
March 19, 2021
¡Gracias trabajadores agrícolas! Over 600 SLO County Farmworkers Receive COVID-19 Vaccine in Successful Farmworker Friday Pilot Project
This is a proud day for our Farm Bureau and agriculture community. I don’t think we’ve ever been a part of something more important than getting this vaccine to our essential agricultural workers.  

We’ve been planning this event for months. Our successful pilot today is a product of close collaboration between so many people on our Farmworker Task Force, SLO County Promotores, Herencia Indígena, County staff and many others, but also our agriculture employers and farm labor contractors. We knew early on it was going to take a special, concerted effort to educate our farmworker community about the importance of getting a vaccine, and even more work to get them here. We’re talking about something that’s never been done in the history of our county, and I couldn’t be prouder. 

We never stopped farming during this pandemic. So many times over this past year we’ve heard ‘thank you farmworkers,’ but today I think we truly showed our gratitude for their work. Gracias trabajadores agrícolas.
- Brent Burchett, Farm Bureau Executive Director
Staff from SLO County Promotores and Herencia Indígena were pivotal in multilingual outreach to farmworkers during (and prior to) today's event.
Pismo Oceano Vegetable Exchange General Manager Dan Sutton and Ikeda Brothers' Tom Ikeda helped lead a large group of farmworkers to get the vaccine.
COVID-19 Vaccine Updates from San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau 
What Documentation is Needed to Prove Food & Agriculture Industry Employment? 
  • In response to a request from Farm Bureau, SLO County Public Health Department clarified on March 16 that County residents in the food and ag industry DO NOT need a pay-stub or other documentation to prove they work in the industry. Self-attestation is now sufficient to prove Food & Agriculture Industry affiliation to get a COVID-19 vaccine through the County.  
  • San Luis Obispo County opened vaccine eligibility to the food and agriculture industry last week.  
Where Can You Register? 
  • Register online at or call the County Phone Assistance Center at (805) 543-2444 or (805) 781-4280. 
Who is Included in the Food & Agriculture Category? 
Is This Process Different Than the County’s Farmworker Friday Vaccine Project? 
  • Yes. Individuals in agriculture should use the County's existing vaccine registration process at  
  • To help lower barriers to getting farmworkers vaccinated, the County is coordinating directly with employers to facilitate holding large blocks of vaccine appointment slots at specially-designated times for farmworkers, known as “Farmworker Friday.” 
  • If you are a farm labor contractor or have large numbers of employees that work in SLO County, please contact County staff Javiar Alfaro at 805-788-2071 or email Javiar to get your workers booked for the next Paso Robles event scheduled for March 26. Note: as of press time, the March 26 event was close to capacity.
  • The County plans to rotate this project between their Paso Robles and Arroyo Grande vaccine sites every other Friday in coming weeks as long as supplies allow and interest continues from the agriculture community.  
  • The Paso Robles site is at the Paso Robles Event Center located at 2198 Riverside Avenue. The Arroyo Grande site is at the South County Regional Center located at 800 W Branch St, Arroyo Grande. 
  • The County is making exceptional efforts to secure the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccines for these Farmworker Friday events. However, supplies of J&J are extremely limited, so be prepared to take whatever vaccine is available.
Where Else Can I Get the Vaccine? 
This Week in SLO County Agriculture
In This Issue:
  • Community News: The Tribune - In Historic Decision, Coastal Commission Votes to End Off-Roading at Oceano Dunes
  • Federal Government News: The Press Enterprise - Despite Headwinds, House Set to OK Dems' Immigration Bills
  • State Government News: Sacramento Bee - Gavin Newsom Pledges to 'Fight' Recall as Democrats Launch Campaign Defending Governor
  • COVID-19 News: COVID-19 Vaccine Updates from San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau
  • Business Member Spotlight: C & N Tractors
  • Featured Member Benefit: Jiffy Lube
  • Livestock News: Brownfield Ag News - US Red Meat Exports Face Some Challenges in 2021
  • Labor News: The Packer - Agriculture Coalition Files Lawsuit Challenging Coachella Urgency Ordinance
  • Produce News: Ag Alert - Nurseries Report Low Inventories of Plants
  • Vineyard & Winery News: Remembering Juan Nevarez
  • Water News: Ag Alert - Commentary: Dry Year Intensifies Focus on California Groundwater
  • Environmental News: - California Pushes forward with Statewide Pesticide Notification System as Shafter Project Stalls
  • Ag Trade News: CNBC - Carriers Rejected at Least $1.3 Billion in Potential U.S. Agricultural Exports From July to December
  • Wisdom From the Farm & Ranch
Community News: The Tribune - In Historic Decision, Coastal Commission Votes to End Off-Roading at Oceano Dunes
In historic decision, Coastal Commission votes to end...

In a historic, unanimous decision, the California Coastal Commission voted Thursday to prohibit off-highway vehicle use at Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area in three years. The commission's decision comes after nearly 40 years of...

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Central Coast congressman wants to spend $155 million to ...

Just one month after U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal visited a Pismo Beach monarch butterfly grove, the Central Coast congressman helped re-introduce two bills that would set aside millions in funding for the protection and recovery of the rapidly...

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Federal Government News: The Press Enterprise - Despite Headwinds, House Set to OK Dems' Immigration Bills
Farm Bureau Encourages Farmers, Ranchers to Reach Out to ...

The American Farm Bureau Federation is asking farmers and ranchers to urge their lawmakers to support House and Senate legislation to eliminate the estate tax. The current but temporary estate tax exemption of $11 million per person has allowed...

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Estate Taxes Are A Threat to Family Farms

Estate taxes are a tax on the transfer of property following a death. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act included an estate tax exemption, which expires in 2025, that requires an estate to file and pay taxes when gross assets exceed $11.58 million per...

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What's in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 for...

In early March the Senate passed, on a party-line vote, the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package (The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021). The legislation goes back to the House - likely this week - before it can go to the White House for final...

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RENEWABLE ENERGY: BLM rebukes Trump, advances...

The Biden administration will study what could be the first solar power project inside a California renewable energy zone, just a week after nixing a Trump-era proposal that critics say would have undermined the intent of the zone to balance...

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Despite headwinds, House set to OK Dems' immigration bills

Democrats seemed poised to claim victory Thursday in the House's first votes this year on immigration, but moving legislation on the divisive issue all the way through Congress is an uphill fight...

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State Government News: Sacramento Bee - Gavin Newsom Pledges to 'Fight' Recall as Democrats Launch Campaign Defending Governor
Proposed bond measure seeks to improve state's food system

Two state assemblymembers on Tuesday announced a new $3 billion bond measure that aims to spur Covid-19 economic recovery while combating climate change and food insecurity...

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Newsom could put a halt to farms losing fire insurance

The head of the California FAIR Plan, the state's "insurer of last resort," says her hands are tied when it comes to the increasing number of farmers who are seeing their rates double or even triple-or are losing fire coverage entirely.

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Gavin Newsom pledges to 'fight' recall...

With only a few days left for opponents of Gov. Gavin Newsom to turn in signatures for a recall, California Democrats on Monday launched a campaign supporting the governor, calling the attempt to remove him a "Republican power grab."

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California Farm Bureau's Friday Review - March 19
This week's State Legislative and Governmental Affairs Update includes:
  • Agricultural Employment - SB 95 and SB 311;
  • Cannabis - CDFW will host public workshop, March 24, 2021;
  • Climate Change - SB 27, AB 125, AB 284, and AB 564;
  • Crop Protection - DPR hosted a workshop in increasing product registration fees;
  • Endangered Species - CDFW was tracking movements of a yearling grey wolf into Mono County;
  • Equity - The Assembly Agriculture Committee hosted information hearing on the status of the Farmer Equity Act;
  • Insurance - SB 11;
  • Taxation - SB 539, and SB 240;
  • Transportation - AB 505, and AB 1218;
  • Water - State Water Resources Control Board staff held a Fee Stakeholder Meeting this week for the recently adopted General Waste Discharge Requirements for Winery Process Water (Winery General Order); and
  • Wildfire - AB 267, and SB 332
COVID-19 News: COVID-19 Vaccine Myths & Facts
SLO County warns of coronavirus vaccination scam calls

San Luis Obispo County Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein...

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Business Member Spotlight:
C & N Tractors
C&N Tractors was founded in September of 1974 when Jim Cox and Bob Nyberg purchased the existing Cox Brothers Massey-Ferguson Dealership in Watsonville, California. In 1979, C&N Tractors became a Kubota tractor dealership, along with Massey-Ferguson. Soon a new facility was built to serve the ever-increasing equipment demands of the central coast. Along with the expansion, new lines of equipment were added to better serve the needs of the area.

Over the ensuing years C&N Tractors dropped the Massey-Ferguson line. In 1995, the managers purchased C&N Tractors from the Cox family. In 1999, C&N Tractors became a Kubota only dealer. In 2001, C&N Tractors expanded to include a Full-Service Facility in Paso Robles, CA.

Since 1974, through the vision and philosophies of Jim Cox and Bob Nyberg, C&N Tractors has more than quadrupled in size and scope. Founded on the principle of “Legendary Service” and living up to our mission statement of “Give Us Your Tough Jobs,” we exist today with one sole purpose; to better serve the tractor and equipment needs of the Central California Coast Area.
2690 Ramada Drive | Paso Robles, CA 93446
(805) 237-3855
Monday - Friday 8:00AM - 5:00PM
Thank You Farm Bureau Members
New Member:
Tyson Davis

New Collegiate Member:
Loren Parley
Renewing Business Support Members:
Westside Vineyard, Laurie Moore

Renewing Members:
Oceano Packing Co, Dayspring Farms LLC, Peter Felthousen, Justin Smith, Tom Madden, Gary Kanawyer, Tobias Wheeler, William Cunha, Cal Poly Ag Ed & Communication Department, Raelynn Hendricks, Pedro Figueroa, Les Goodwin
Featured Member Benefit:
Jiffy Lube
For over 30 years, Jiffy Lube® has pioneered the preventive maintenance industry with a customer-focused, service-oriented approach designed to increase driver productivity and help Leave Worry Behind®. Jiffy Lube believes you deserve to be free from the anxiety of keeping your vehicle in top shape and most importantly, that you deserve a service provider you can trust. We strive to minimize your downtime by providing quick, convenient quality service. We appreciate your business and intend to meet or exceed your expectations every step of the way.

Start taking advantage of the program by visiting any of our close to 2,000 Jiffy Lube locations to experience our in & out efficiency, with no appointment necessary. Under your national cash fleet account, drivers can pay at time of sale while instantly receiving standardized discounting of 10% off on all products and services except Tires and Batteries.

Simply visit to access our store locator for the nearest service center location. No appointment is necessary. Below you will find a wallet card we recommend that you keep handy to reference for every visit. Please remember to reference your account name “California Farm Bureau” and Account number #12821837 under our national fleet listing. Your satisfaction and loyalty are always important to us. Welcome to Jiffy Lube Fleet Care!
Livestock News: Brownfield Ag News - US Red Meat Exports Face Some Challenges in 2021
U.S. Supreme Court to hear challenge to California law...

The farmworkers movement led by Cesar E. Chavez celebrated a historic victory in 1975 when California became the first state to extend collective bargaining rights to those who toiled in the fields...

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US red meat exports face some challenges in 2021

Halstrom says US beef and pork exports started 2021 below year-ago levels, but there were some positives, especially for beef. "There's some genuine sustained growth going on in China," he says...

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Bill Would Expand Ranchers' On-Farm Slaughter Options

Selling customers an entire animal for their freezers is not a new practice, but California ranchers say state restrictions and limited options of where they can process just a few animals have hampered their ability to provide bulk meat to those who want it...
USDA raises beef production, lowers pork, poultry

The USDA hiked its 2021 beef production outlook, while lowering the projections for pork and poultry. Beef production is pegged at 27.58 billion pounds, up 40 million from February on expectations for higher live cattle slaughter during the first ...

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Labor News: The Packer - Agriculture Coalition Files Lawsuit Challenging Coachella Urgency Order
FELS COVID-19 News - March 12, 2021
  • Cal/OSHA Updates COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard Guidance: (March 12, 2021): (From FELS' Group Legal Services Plan partner firm Barsamian & Moody): Cal/OSHA has updated its Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”) Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQs”) page to address two relevant issues: what employers may deduct when calculating “exclusion pay” in those limited situation where leave is paid, and where to find testing for employees. Of particular relevance, given the new federal stimulus payments to millions of California employees, the FAQs now address whether employers may estimate the value of future public benefits, such as a stimulus payment, and deduct that estimate from the amount owed to the employee for paid leave in those situations when leave is paid. Not surprisingly, the answer is “No.” Cal/OSHA stats that doing so would not meet its requirement to “continue and maintain” an employee’s wages and benefits during covered leave. See FAQ 11 in the Exclusion Pay and Benefits section of the FAQs found here
  • Federal COVID-19 Leave Tax Credits: The American Rescue Plan signed by President Biden on March 11 includes an extension and expansion of federal payroll tax credits for employers to defray the cost of COVID-19-related leaves. Tax credits are available for the reasons originally provided for under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) from March 2020, but adds leaves for employees who are awaiting a COVID-19 test result or COVID-19 medical diagnosis and to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine or recovering from any injury or illness arising out of receiving a vaccine. Covington & Burling LLP's Tax Witholding & Reporting Blog recently posted American Rescue Plan Act Goes to Biden for Signature: Includes Changes to Employee Retention Tax Credit, Employer-Provided Dependent Care, Paid Leave Credits, and Deduction Limitations for Executive Compensation with more details on these federal payroll tax credits.
  • CDC Issues Guidance for Fully Vaccinated Individuals: On March 8, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued its first set of recommendations on activities that people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can safely resume. The new guidance—which is based on the latest science — includes recommendations for how and when a fully vaccinated individual can visit with other people who are fully vaccinated and with other people who are not vaccinated. This guidance represents a first step toward returning to everyday activities in our communities. CDC will update these recommendations as more people are vaccinated, rates of COVID-19 in the community change, and additional scientific evidence becomes available. It is important to note that this CDC guidance is not consistent with requirements of the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) and social distancing, masking and other sanitation requirements of the ETS remain in effect even to the degree CDC's new guidance may be less stringent. You can read more  here.
You can read more at COVID-19 News & Resources for Farm Employers at FELS' website. 

Nationwide Webinar - April 7, 2021
  • CalSavers Retirement Law Webinar Hosted for Employers: 
  • Our partner Nationwide is offering two upcoming webinars to explain the new 401 (k) Multiple Employer plan available for Farm Bureau agricultural members. 
  • This webinar will be on: April 7, 2021 from 12:30 - 1:30 PM PST 
  • Register for any of the sessions from computer, tablet or smartphone here 
  • These webinars are open to Agricultural members and this program could be a cost saver for many ag employers. 
  • The next deadline for the CA state mandated program CalSavers is June 30, 2021 and applies to employers with 51 or more employees. (Meaning companies of this size must have a retirement savings program for their employees offered thru CalSavers or an instrument like the one Nationwide and Farm Bureau is offering.) 
House passes ag labor bill in Democratic bid to win...

The House on Thursday passed the Farm Workforce Modernization Act for the second time in less than two years as Democrats look to prod the Senate into acting on immigration reforms. The ag labor bill, which was approved 274-174 with 30 Republican...

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Agriculture Coalition Files Lawsuit Challenging Coachella Urgency Ordinance

Led by Western Growers,  a coalition of agricultural organizations has filed a lawsuit in Riverside Superior Court to block Coachella’s urgency ordinance mandating that farmers and other agricultural employers pay an additional four dollars per hour to their employees for at least 120 days.
More Than 300 Agricultural Organizations Support...

More than 300 agricultural organizations have come out in support of reforming the nation's guestworker program, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act. Advocates say it would help ease chronic shortages of farmworkers and give them legal status.

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Produce News: Ag Alert - Nurseries Report Low Inventories of Plants
Listen to science and studies, not false claims and rhetoric

Imagine being a farmer or farm worker and working throughout this pandemic to supply a continuous supply of safe and healthy fruits and vegetables, only to have an activist group refer to those products as “dirty.”
Nurseries Report Low Inventories of Plants

California's nursery producers have a good problem on their hands this year—scrambling to replenish inventories reduced last year by people taking up gardening while stuck at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Alliance for Food and Farming: “Dirty Dozen” List Scientifically Unsupportable, Hurts Consumers

Peer reviewed research and a survey of registered dietitians has shown the potential negative impact on fruit and vegetable consumption among consumers...
Vineyard & Winery News: Remembering Juan Nevarez
Remembering Juan Nevarez
By Pebble Smith

The year is 1985 and we’re looking at our first harvest at James Berry Vineyard. Our family, alone, has deer fenced, laid out, staked, and planted 35 acres of Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc. We know there is no way we can get the grapes off and to the winery just using our family and any friends still willing to help us. Our very first thought was to call our friend Juan who was then helping the Baldwins develop their vineyard and winery. He looked at us pleading for help and said “no problema, I’ll be there before the sun’s up with enough men to get all your grapes off before noon.” He was true to his word and our first harvest was the exciting start for two successful careers: our fledgling vineyard and Juan’s labor contracting business. Thirty-five harvests later and Juan and now his family, are still supplying us with skilled and trusted vineyard laborers. I know this is not the end for our relationship with Nevarez Labor but Juan’s passing has left his family and ours with a big hole in our hearts. To help heal that hole we have put forward money for the Vineyard Team Educational Scholarship Fund and we know that would have made him very happy. So in honor of Juan, Terry, Justin, Heather and I would like to honor all the Nevarez family for being such an integral part of our community. ~ Pebble Smith

Make a scholarship donation here.
Water News: Ag Alert - Commentary: Dry Year Intensifies Focus on California Groundwater
Arroyo Grande Subbasin Groundwater Sustainability Plan Draft Chapters 1 & 2 Are Now Available for Review and Comment 
The Arroyo Grande Subbasin Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) Draft Chapters 1 and 2 have been posted online and are available for review. The public comment period for these chapters opened on March 12, 2021 and will close on April 30, 2021. 
Please visit the Arroyo Grande Subbasin GSP development website to view/download the draft chapters and submit your comments using the online comment form. All submitted public comments will be posted online for review. 
For more information on the Arroyo Grande Subbasin, please visit
Report on the 2012-2016 California Drought

Excerpts from the Executive Summary California's drought between Water Years 2012 and 2016 was one of the most severe in state history...

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Judge rules against Los Angeles in Long Valley...

A judge has ordered the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to continue providing historic quantities of irrigation water to lessees of its pasturelands east of Yosemite, despite the agency's assertion that climate change is making water...

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Commentary: Dry Year Intensifies Focus on California Groundwater
By Danny Merkley

Each March, those of us involved in water policy commemorate National Groundwater Awareness Week. Because groundwater represents such a precious resource to California farmers and ranchers, Farm Bureau works to promote groundwater awareness throughout the year.
Guest column: Regulatory failures could spell disaster...

It was a chilly morning in 2010 when Oxnard farmworkers, tending to their broccoli crops, discovered an oily sheen floating on their irrigation water. In a nearby oilfield, a tank of diluent - a carcinogenic mix of benzene, toluene, and diesel -...

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Environmental News: - California Pushes Forward with Statewide Pesticide Notification System as Shafter Project Stalls
California pushes forward with statewide pesticide...

What began as a Shafter initiative aimed at notifying local residents about farmers' plans to apply pesticides nearby is increasingly shaping up to be a statewide project that may or may not have a separate Kern County parallel activists are...

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California to add new cancer warning for Telone

A CalEPA office has agreed to a petition from Californians for Pesticide Reform and will adopt a higher Prop. 65 cancer risk warning on the fumigant known as Telone, or 1,3-D. The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, called OEHHA,...

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Ag Trade News: CNBC - Carriers Rejected at Least $1.3 Billion in Potential U.S. Agricultural Exports From July to December
Katherine Tai Confirmed as New U.S. Trade Representative

The U.S. Senate has officially confirmed Katherine Tai as the next U.S. Trade Representative. It marks the first time that a woman of color will take the position as the country's top trade delegate. There was significant support for Tai assuming ...

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Carriers rejected at least $1.3 billion in potential...

The United States saw at least $1.3 billion in potential agricultural exports rejected at major ports on the East and West coasts, from July to December last year, according to a CNBC analysis.

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Our weekly E-News is sent out every Friday to our membership. If you're interested in an effective, low-cost advertising campaign ($150 a month) please give us a call or send an email to SLO County Farm Bureau Executive Director Brent Burchett.
Wisdom From the Farm & Ranch
Ain't It Beautiful - Monty Harper
The fertile Oklahoma plain 
Planted with a single strain 
A blanket spun from golden grain 
A trillion stalks of wheat 
On every stalk a perfect head 
The kernels keep the combines fed 
Then off to manufacture bread 
So everyone can eat 
Ain't it beautiful; Ain't it clever 
Ain't it just about the best news ever 
A farmer feeds a nation's needs 
When man and nature work together 
About a half a world away 
An Afghan farmer starts his day 
He swings a scythe to cut his hay 
He threshes it by hand 
He grows a mix of wheat out here 
And when the weather turns austere 
A strain or two may persevere 
Enough to meet demand 
Ain't it beautiful; Ain't it clever 
Ain't it just about the best news ever 
A farmer feeds a family's needs 
When man and nature work together 
Back in Oklahoma, disaster in the fields 
Farmers ponder pesticides while Russian aphids cut their yeilds 
But scientists have a weapon to help us beat this pest 
The USDA wheat gene bank has more than fifty thousand strains to test 
And they find resistance built right in 
To a plant from our Afghan farmer friend 
They cross it with our own and spin 
A strain that can't be beat 
And so the Oklahoma plain 
Ripples proudly once again 
A blanket spun from golden grain 
A trillion stalks of wheat 
Ain't it beautiful; Ain't it clever 
Ain't it just about the best news ever 
How science feeds our global needs 
When man and nature work together.
Farm Bureau Membership Matters
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 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 some assistance with membership, 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.
Thank You San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau
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