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San Luis Obispo County Agriculture News

May 22, 2023


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San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau Member, Daryn Miller, Talks Farming in From the Fields Segment

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Courtesy of California Farm Bureau Federation's Ag Alert

By Daryn Miller, Monterey County winegrape grower and San Luis Obispo County citrus and avocado farmer 

I have a vineyard management company called Monterey Pacific. We farm about 3,600 acres of winegrapes in Monterey County.

Right now, we’re commencing our fungicide spray passes. After all this rain, we’re going to have a little bit higher mildew pressure possibly this year. We’re getting close to bloom in the next couple weeks, so we’re doing some fertilizers as well.

We’ve had to have a lot of weed control going on, doing a lot of mowing to keep up with all the cover crops that have grown throughout the winter and in the spring.

On top of all that, what I’m focusing on is a lot of redevelopment—replanting about 400 acres between two ranches.

It’s an interesting time in the wine business. Fortunately, there is still quite a bit of interest from wineries needing more fruit. We’re hopeful that things pick up more, so we can find a home for a lot of these grapes.

The main varieties we have are chardonnay and pinot noir, but we also have other varieties. We have some grenache and some cabernet. The primary reason for not planting more chardonnay and pinot is because there’s such an abundance of those varietals in the county. While they do very well in Monterey County, we want to diversify and not put all our eggs in the same basket.

In any business endeavor, you make sure you’re covering your bases and providing some products that will have interest from various different parties rather than just the main big wineries.

We’re really trying to put in a lot more mechanization and trellis systems where we can hopefully mechanize as much as possible because we don’t have enough labor.

I also do agronomy and pest control work for my family’s citrus and avocado operation in San Luis Obispo County. With citrus, it’s been a cool spring so far. We’re all hoping for warmer temperatures for better fruit-set weather. It’s always a big determinant—how the weather corresponds with the time of year. Hopefully, we get a good fruit set this year. Basically, we need to get enough warm days. Having only cold and windy conditions can be a detriment to setting fruit.

This Week In SLO County Agriculture

In This Week's Issue:

  • Community: Thousands Attend Olive and Lavender Festival Saturday
  • Local Government: California Natural Resources Agency Releases Outline for Future of Diablo Canyon Lands
  • State Government: Senate Passes Farm-Backed Bill on Fire Insurance
  • Federal Government: Farm Bill Math Updated Again in May CBO Baseline
  • USDA: San Luis Obispo County Included in Elgibility for February and March Storm Damage Assistance
  • Business Member Spotlight: Whiteford Ag
  • Environmental: Nuclear Regulatory Commission: Diablo Canyon Power Plant operated safely in 2022 
  • Produce: U.S. Lettuce Production Shifts Regionally by Season
  • Featured Member Benefit: Dunn-Edwards and Kelly-Moore Paints
  • Labor: Duarte Says H.R. 2 E-Verify Program 'Devastating' for Farmers
  • Wildfire: California's Wet Winter Fueled Flowers, but Will Also Fuel Wildfires
  • Livestock: Biden's Plans to Sell Land Leases for Conservation Gets Pushback
  • Vineyard & Wine: In-Field Demonstration of Mechanical Weed Knives and Under Vine Cultivation- May 24
  • Water: Gavin Newsom Wants to Make it Easier to Build Roads, Dams and More. What's in His Plan?

May 15 Most-Read

1. State adopts landmark rule phasing out diesel trucks

2. The buzziest California wine region isn't Napa or Sonoma

3. Gloomy spring hits Mother's Day flower inventory

4. Local officials urge Congress to provide more aid for California farms damaged in storms

5. Mangoes and agave in the Central Valley: California farmers try new crops to cope with climate change

6. Jobs, volunteer opportunities available at Mid-State Fair

7. The Science Behind Atmospheric Rivers

8. Uncertainty clouds US transition at Mexico border as new rules take effect

9. NRCS Invites Applications for Proposals on Resiliency of California Agriculture

10. How the Farm Bill could subsidize a revolution in high-tech farming

Executive Director Report

Here are a few things we worked on this week:

  • Held an Executive Board Meeting;
  • Preparation for the upcoming Best of the West Barbecue Fundraiser; and
  • Participated in our weekly 98.1 KJUG radio segment with Tom and Becky in the Morning (~9:15am every Thursday)

Calendar- Upcoming Events & Deadlines:

  • May 23- SLO County Farm Bureau Board of Directors meeting at 5pm (all members welcome)
  • May 25- Cooperative Extension Updates - Continuing Education class online: 1 Hour L/R or Other DPR & 1 Hour CCA (Register here)
  • May 26-28- Best of the West Tri-tip Sandwich Fundraiser- Email Catie Field at cfield@slofarmbureau.org if you want to volunteer
  • June 1- Card Check Seminar at SLO County Farm Bureau Office (4875 Morabito Place, SLO)- Register Here
  • June 1- Young Farmers and Ranchers BBQ Social at Farm Bureau Office
  • September 18 - Deadline to apply for the USDA Farm Service Agency’s Emergency Loan Program
  • October 14 - NEW Deadline to apply for the USDA Farm Service Agency's Emergency Conservation Program for January 2023 storm damages in SLO County

Community: Thousands Attend Olive and Lavender Festival Saturday

Thousands attend Olive and Lavender Festival Saturday

More than 90 booths showcase hundreds of products - Thousands of people attended the Olive and Lavender Festival in Downtown City Park Saturday in Paso [...]

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Information From Our May General Meeting, Updates from around the food system

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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Young Farmers and Ranchers BBQ Social on June 1st

Local Government: California Natural Resources Agency Releases Outline for Future of Diablo Canyon Lands

California Natural Resources Agency Releases Outline for Future of Diablo Canyon Lands | News Channel 3-12

SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY, Calif.- The California Natural Resources Agency released its Diablo Canyon Power Plant Land Conservation and Economic Development Plan on Wednesday. The Economic Development Plan outlines a series of broad "values" for the future of the extensive coastal area including $160 million for land conservation and economic development, potential tribal ownership, and increased public access.

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SLO County Board of Supervisors give themselves 26% salary raise

This week, the SLO County Board of Supervisors voted to give themselves a 26% raise over the next few years. Right now, SLO County supervisors make about $90,000 a year. They're now planned to make about $114,000 a year by 2025. Tuesday's vote also restricts SLO County Supervisors from voting on their own salary increases after 2025.

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State Government: Senate Passes Farm-Backed Bill on Fire Insurance

California Farm Bureau's Farm Bureau at Work- 

May 19, 2023

Ag Technology

Farm Bureau sponsored legislation; AB-1016 by Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles), creates a training program for the use of Drone technology for pesticide applications. It passed out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee today with no opposition. The bill has passed two policy committees and now the appropriations committee with little or no opposition. It next goes to the Assembly floor where we expect broad support from both Democrats and Republicans.


Three pieces of legislation passed out of the Assembly Appropriations committee today that the Farm Bureau opposes. AB-652 Assemblymember Alex Lee (D-San Jose) would create an Environmental Justice Advisory Committee to advise the Department of Pesticide Regulation on ways to better integrate environmental justice issues into department programs, policies, and decision-making activities. AB-99 Assemblymember Damon Connolly (D-San Rafael) would create statewide pesticide policy that would not allow use of herbicides or pesticides on state roads or highways and finally Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D-Orinda) has introduced AB-1042 which would create an unnecessary regulatory structure related to the registration of pesticide treated seeds in California. Farm Bureau will continue to oppose and work with our coalition partners as it moves to the Assembly floor.

Senate passes farm-backed bill on fire insurance

Wildfires that raged across California over the past several years have devastated farms, spoiling crops and burning farm buildings. After the flames were extinguished, the threat of wildfires has continued to cost farmers in other ways.

Since the Thomas and Tubbs fires in 2017, farmers in parts of the state have seen the premiums on their property insurance policies rise exponentially. Some have had their policies dropped altogether.

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Commentary: Ag Vision seeks to secure state's agricultural future

It’s no secret that times are tough for many California farmers and ranchers. I have heard their stories and concerns over their livelihoods and the future of agriculture in the Golden State. I know that, for many, it’s hard to think beyond the immediate challenges at hand. While there is no silver bullet to address all they face, there is a new plan that will grow opportunity for farmers and ranchers, farmworkers, individuals and communities.

Read More

2023 Legislative Update from Senator John Laird

In Brief: California Legal Services May Newsletter

Federal Government: Farm Bill Math Updated Again in May CBO Baseline

Farm leaders are calling for more comprehensive trade agreements

Farm leaders are calling for more comprehensive trade agreements, especially with the upcoming Farm Bill on the docket. Agribusinesss coop, CHS says that starts with better market access. According to John Griffith, "We must promote global science-based policies and break down tariff and non-tariff barriers to entry, more work remains in the pursuit of market access opportunities for U.S.

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Farm Bill Math Updated Again in May CBO Baseline

The Congressional Budget Office's (CBO) most recent Baseline for Farm Programs, released on May 12, identifies expected outlays for farm program spending, assuming existing programs continue without changes, and indicates program spending available to Congress as crafting of the 2023 farm bill kicks into high gear.

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USDA: San Luis Obispo County Included in Elgibility for February and March Storm Damage Assistance

San Luis Obispo County is eligible for storm disaster relief from the winter storms. A full brochure of programs being offered by the Farm Service Agency can be found here.

The applications for damage from February 21 and continuing are due December 4, 2023. Reach out to the local Templeton USDA-FSA office by phone at 805-434-0396 to learn more.

County Presidential Disaster Declaration Info

Business Member Spotlight:

Whiteford Ag

Owned and operated by 6th generation Santa Margarita native Connor Whiteford, Whiteford Ag is a central coast agricultural service company to help with your mowing, spraying and brush removal needs. Armed with innovative ideas, deep community roots, and a devotion to rural California, Connor Whiteford and his family deliver exceptional results with a strong work ethic and sincere customer service.

We want all of our customers to experience the exceptional level of professionalism when working with Whiteford Ag. All of our services exist to make your life easier and stress-free. You can trust us to provide you with the best service, on and off the farm. Infused in the foundation of our company, experience stress-free planning with the highest quality customer service. Get in touch to learn more.


PHONE: 1-805-441-3085

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Environmental: Nuclear Regulatory Commission: Diablo Canyon Power Plant operated safely in 2022 

Morro Bay group wants to block Vistra battery energy storage plant

A group of Morro Bay citizens is collecting signatures for an initiative that could potentially bring the controversial proposal to build a battery storage plant to voters. "The initial concern arose when we found out that they were possibly going to build a lithium battery storage a quarter mile away from our local high school," Barry Branin told New Times.

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Nuclear Regulatory Commission: Diablo Canyon Power Plant operated safely in 2022 * Atascadero News

SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY - The Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) received its annual assessment from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) regarding the safety of Diablo Canyon Power Plant. The NRC, during a public meeting held on Wednesday evening at the San Luis Obispo County Government Center, confirmed that PG&E operated the facility safely throughout 2022.

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When the levee breaks: Oceano residents, county officials walk a tightrope of regulations to manage Arroyo Grande Creek, which some say led to the levee's failure in January

Oceano native Linda Austin scanned the rapidly flowing Arroyo Grande Creek as it met the Pacific Ocean after a fresh set of rainstorms on March 25. The silty water powered through, taking out large chunks of sand from the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area beach, impervious to the raised clusters of knotted wood, rock, and other debris.

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Produce: U.S. Lettuce Production Shifts Regionally by Season

U.S. lettuce production shifts regionally by season

Lettuce-the main ingredient in many salads and a popular sandwich topper-is the most widely consumed leafy green in the United States. In 2022, lettuce accounted for nearly one-fifth of the $21.8 billion that U.S. growers received in cash receipts from sales of vegetables and melons.

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How some citrus growers are making sustainable attainable

Sustainability is a big deal for U.S. citrus grower-shippers, many of whom have gone to great lengths to ensure their operations are environmentally friendly. "Sustainability is engraved in our DNA, and therefore we are always looking for ways to enhance our land and the ecosystem that takes part in it," said Edgar Gutierrez, vice president of farming operations for Santa Paula, Calif.-based Limoneira.

Read More

Thank You Farm Bureau Members

Renewing Agricultural Business Support Member

Rabo AgriFinance

Renewing Agricultural Members

Edward Myers, Paul Wolcott, and Rolling Hills Farms

Renewing Associate Member

Supervisor Bruce Gibson

SLO County Farm Bureau Business Support Member List

Featured Member Benefit:

Dunn-Edwards and Kelly-Moore Paints

Farm Bureau members can save up to 30 percent at Dunn-Edwards Paints and Kelly-Moore Paints. Dunn-Edwards and Kelly-Moore offer a full range of architectural and specialty coatings for virtually every application, including farms/outbuildings, water tanks/water treatment, plant maintenance/floors, concrete water proofing and coatings for wood, ferrous and nonferrous metals. Farms or ranches with large or continuous purchasing needs may qualify for additional discounts and individual sales representation.

For more information and store locations, visit or call Dunn-Edwards at (888) DE-PAINT, Kelly-Moore at (888) MR-PAINT.

Labor: Duarte Says H.R. 2 E-Verify Program 'Devastating' for Farmers

Free Webinar: Do You Really Need to Keep Old I9s Forever, and Other Questions About I-9 Compliance

Agricultural employers face many paperwork requirements. One constant headache is I-9 forms. The form is complicated, and there are very specific rules an employer is required to follow. Do you know all of those rules? Do you know how long you must keep I-9s and when you can discard them? Jen Shaw of Shaw Law Group will shine a light on the mysteries of I-9 compliance in this FREE one hour webinar. 

FREE WEBINAR: FELS+FieldClock+Harvust: Learn All about Headache Relief for California Ag Employers

FELS has entered into a new partnership with long-time partner Harvust, cloud-based employee hiring and communications that now is designed to hand-shake with FELS' new partner, FieldClock, a web- and cloud-based service to assist farm employers with gathering time-and-attendance and production data to allow better, faster, and more accurate gathering and compilation of payroll data that’s critical to delivering farm payroll that’s faster and easier than traditional hand-written time cards, time sheets, field or bin tags, or other traditional hand-written methods of tracking employees’ hours and production. Please join us for a webinar demonstrating the power of cloud management of your time-and-attendance, field production, hiring and personnel communications and how to access this new benefit for FELS Newsletter subscribers.

2023 Farm Labor Survey

In this study, we are interested in gathering information about agricultural sector employee shortages, mitigation strategies, including use of the H-2A visa program and technology, and operating costs. Risks and Benefits: Your participation will assist in the advancement of knowledge of the current state of agricultural production and agricultural labor markets.

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In-Person Card Check Seminar on June 1 at SLO County Farm Bureau Office- RSVP by May 25th

How to Prepare for Card Check: California Farm Bureau, Farm Employers Labor Service, San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau and Santa Barbara County Farm Bureau invite you to join them for an important labor seminar on Thursday, June 1st from 10:00 to 12:00 PM regarding AB 2183, the agricultural employee unionization card check legislation that went into effect on January 1, 2023. Presented by Barsamian and Moody, Attorneys at Law, this seminar will walk through the statutory changes to the Agricultural Labor Relations Act, including what is card check, labor peace elections, the administrative penalties, and appeal bond requirements in the new law. The seminar is intended for owner-operators, managers, human resources personnel, and farm labor contractors (FLCs). FLC representatives are encouraged to attend.

Spanish language interpretation and devices will be available for attendees. If you will need Spanish language translation, please register, and indicate the Spanish language option to ensure enough listening headsets can be provided. Los asistentes que requieran traducción al español deben comunicarse con Martha Peña al 800-753-9073. (Please note that the content of the seminar will not constitute legal advice or counsel.) 

The seminar is at no cost to attend but RSVPs are required.

  • Date: Thursday, June 1, 2023 (Deadline to register is Thursday, May 25)
  • Time: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM 
  • Location: San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau, 4875 Morabito Place, San Luis Obispo

To register for the seminar in San Luis Obispo on June 1, please click here. For more information please contact Bryan Little at FELS at blittle@fels.net, 800-753-9073; Catie Field at San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau at: cfield@slofarmbureau.org, (805) 543-3654; and Teri Bontrager Santa Barbara County Farm Bureau; farmsbc@hwy246.net; 805-688-7479.

Supervisor Heat Illness Prevention Training Presented by DiBuduo & DeFendis Insurance

Are your winery and vineyard workers prepared for the hot days ahead?

Tuesday June 13th, 2023

Spanish 9:00am – 10:00am

English 10:30am – 11:30am

California’s heat illness standard applies to all outdoor workers regardless of industry. This training is designed to fulfill Cal/OSHA’s annual training requirements for those who supervise employees.

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Duarte Says H.R. 2 E-Verify Program 'Devastating' for Farmers

A Republican congressman says the GOP's border bill doesn't work for farmers or farm workers. H.R. 2, the Secure the Border Act passed in the House last week with a vote of 219 to 213. All Democrats were opposed and all but two Republicans were in favor.

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Wildfire: California's Wet Winter Fueled Flowers, but Will Also Fuel Wildfires

California's wet winter fueled flowers, but will also fuel wildfires

In California's Central Valley, vibrant wildflower blooms are drying into brittle fuel for wildfires. Now land managers and property owners are under deadlines to clear brush and mitigate risk before peak fire season later this year.

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Prescribed burns to take place at Camp Roberts in May, June

Prescribed burns are set to take place at Camp Roberts between May 17 and June 16, according to a SLO County Air Pollution Control District press release. Approximately 9,000 acres are designated for prescribed burns with most occurring on June 1, weather permitting. Burns are dependent on weather and air-quality conditions.

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A rainy winter doesn't mean California is out of the woods yet for wildfire season

California wildfires have made headlines in recent years for their notable size and intensity. According to scientists, increased underbrush growth from this past winter's rainfall may further fuel the wildfire season this year. California's state parks are preparing for flood events and an especially intense wildfire season.

Read More

Equipment fire engulfed 6 tractors with trailers in Santa Maria

Six tractors with trailers were engulfed by flames, less than a quarter mile from Highway 101 just after midnight in Santa Maria. It was confirmed by fire officials that the fire was off of Stowell Rd.- and flames could be seen from the freeway. The fire broke out at 12:37 a.m.

Read More

Livestock: Biden's Plans to Sell Land Leases for Conservation Gets Pushback

Grassley proposes overturning California livestock regulations

Opponents say California law will cost pork industry millions, drive up prices DES MOINES - Republican Iowa U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley said he's working on legislation to overturn California's Proposition 12, an animal welfare law recently upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court that opponents say will throttle the pork industry.

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Biden's plans to sell land leases for conservation gets pushback

Biden administration officials on Monday sought to dispel worries they want to exclude oil drilling, livestock grazing and other activities from vast government-owned lands, as they faced pushback from Republicans and ranchers and over a contentious proposal to put conservation on equal footing with industry.

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Vineyard & Wine: In-Field Demonstration of Mechanical Weed Knives and Under Vine Cultivation- May 24

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In-Field Demonstration of Mechanical Weed Knives and Under Vine Cultivation

Date & Time: Wednesday May 24, 10am to noon Place: P&R Vineyard, 5175 Martingale Circle, Paso Robles (Estrella area east of town off 46 East) Agenda: Showcase Products from Clemens, Perfect Mowers, and others Speakers: Eddy Kronfli, Vine Shepherd Vineyard Management, and Billy Booker, Coastal Tractor Eddy Kronfli, Vine Shepherd Owner and Viticulturist Edward (Eddy) Kronfli completed his Masters Degree in Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis before setting out to work and study in vineyards across the world.

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Canopy Management: Trellising, Sunburn, & Mechanization

This event was RESCHEDULED (original date was 3/10, postponed due to weather). Wine grape quality is directly linked to berry composition, which can be significantly determined by canopy microclimate. In California, extreme heat waves along with excessive solar radiation have jeopardized berry composition, causing yield loss and berry quality degradation.

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Investigating Regenerative Practices in a Production Vineyard

Want to know how you can use regenerative farming methods? Visit a production vineyard with an ongoing, long-term investigation into the adoption of regenerative practices. Bart Haycraft of Jackson Family Wines, Jenny Hansen Garley of New Age Labs, and Mike Morganfield of Oakville Bluegrass Cooperative, to look at SAP samples, soil samples, cover cropping and fertilizer programs, as well as stem water potential application in the field.

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Water: Gavin Newsom Wants to Make it Easier to Build Roads, Dams and More. What's in His Plan?

Gavin Newsom Wants to Make it Easier to Build Roads, Dams and More. What's in His Plan?

Lea este artículo en español. Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to make it easier for California to build big things. Today, he unveiled a plan to make it happen. At an 1,100 acre solar farm near Patterson in Stanislaus County, Newsom announced a package of legislative proposals and signed an executive order aimed at speeding big infrastructure projects.

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'Six times the size of Yosemite': The New marine sanctuary for the super-rich LA coast

he Chumash people viewed the Pacific Ocean as their first home. Their territory once spanned 7,000 sq miles, from the rolling hills of Paso Robles to the white sand beaches of Malibu. Now, the region is one of the most expensive in the US, home to resort hotels, vineyards and multimillion-dollar mansions.

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CALIFORNIA WATER PLAN: The state's integrated plan for water management

The California Water Plan is the state's strategic roadmap for managing the state's precious water resources equitably and sustainably. First developed in 1957, it has been continually updated to tackle the evolving issues and challenges of the day. The latest update, expected mid-2024, will highlight sustainable water resource management, climate urgency, and the need to...

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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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