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San Luis Obispo County Agriculture News

November 28, 2022


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Stop the Paso Basin Planting Ordinance

SLO County Board of Supervisors will vote December 6, 2022 on the Paso Basin Land Use Management Area Planting Ordinance. Read the Planting Ordinance by clicking here. Read a 1-page summary from Farm Bureau here.

Even if you do not farm or ranch in the Paso Basin, the Ordinance has implications for all of SLO County agriculture. Send your comments to the Board of Supervisors by emailing Boardofsups@co.slo.ca.us with the subject "Paso Basin Planting Ordinance." The agenda for the December 6 meeting will come out this week here.


  • The goal is to replace the current Agricultural Offset Ordinance, which limits sites (defined as a contiguous set of parcels under common ownership) in the Paso Basin to their historical irrigation use as of 2015 and caps most other sites to 5 acre-feet per year (AFY).
  • The current ordinance has been a “stop-gap" policy until the Paso Basin Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) can manage groundwater. Supervisors want to raise this 5 AFY limit to 25 AFY through the year 2045. For perspective, 25 AFY allows for a 20-acre vineyard or 13.16 acres of vegetables.
  • To make this change, the Planting Ordinance had to undergo an Environmental Impact Review, and the County will be required to place several “Mitigation Measures” (regulations) on farmers and ranchers.



  • Any farmer or rancher in the Paso Basin who rotates to a different irrigated crop type (e.g. planting vegetables one year and planting a hay crop the next year) will be subject to the Ordinance.
  • Replanting the same crop type and acreage that has been in production within 6 years preceding January 31, 2023 will be exempted. However, the County has not been able to clarify if this exemption goes away if the replanting is happening in an area on the site that has not been cultivated within the previous 10 years.
  • Anyone in the Paso Basin seeking to use the new 25 AFY allowance will be subject to the Ordinance.



The Ordinance will create several unintended negative consequences. Impacts to smaller scale farmers include:

  • Limiting smaller scale farmers to only 25 AFY of irrigation water until 2045, even though the forthcoming GSP process allows for more flexibility for these farmers;
  • A new and unprecedented Greenhouse Gas and Carbon Sequestration mandate to plant crops; and
  • A costly new County requirement to hire a geologist to perform a hydrology report before planting crops.

Farmers and ranchers of any scale that are subject to the Ordinance will be burdened with:

  • A new 50-foot setback from riparian and wetland areas (includes intermittent blue-line streams);
  • Mandatory reporting of monthly irrigation water usage to the County (records may be public); and
  • A new Dust Control regulation with things like paving farm roads and installing speed bumps along fields.

The Planting Ordinance does not expire until 2045, meaning all farmers and ranchers in the Paso Basin will be prevented from new plantings for 22 years even if groundwater conditions improve based on GSP actions many years before then.



  • SLO County Farm Bureau, SLO County Cattlemen's Association, Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance, Growers-Shippers Association of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo County, the SLO County Planning Commission, and the SLO County Agricultural Liaison Advisory Board, which includes representatives from Farm Bureau, Cattlemen’s Association, vegetable growers, strawberry growers, wine grape growers, our two Resource Conservation Districts, direct marketing/organic farmers, nursery growers, agricultural finance, and appointees from all five SLO County Supervisor Districts, all oppose the Planting Ordinance.
  • We urge the County to continue short-term extensions of the current Agricultural Offset Ordinance until the GSP is implemented. Farm Bureau will continue working with the main proponent of the Planting Ordinance, Supervisor Debbie Arnold, to make changes to the Ordinance in case the Board moves forward on December 6.
  • Proponents of the Planting Ordinance have argued this will help “small farmers” and “create a more equitable distribution of water.” But even for the property owners who would benefit from a 25 AFY allowance, the costly new regulatory burdens created by the Planting Ordinance will likely prevent them from planting any crops.
  • Given the structure of the Planting Ordinance (the allowance of 25 AFY of water for an unlimited number of sites if they are not contiguous), the most likely beneficiaries will be people with larger financial resources who will take advantage of this new system and plant new crops on multiple sites. As the Ordinance only looks at ownership, a single vineyard company could lease an unlimited number of sites each with 25 AFY of new water.
  • It might help a handful of property owners, but it does so at the expense of the vast majority of growers in the Paso Basin, and the mitigation measures set a dangerous precedent for regulating agriculture in SLO County.


For questions, please contact Farm Bureau Executive Director Brent Burchett 805-543-3654 at bburchett@slofarmbureau.org

This Week In SLO County Agriculture

In This Week's Issue:

  • Community: San Luis Obispo County's Kiah Twisselman Burchett Named Among Cowgirl Magazine's 2023 'Top 30 Under 30'
  • Local Government: SLO County Department of Agriculture Offers Private Applicator Certificate Training and Exams November 29-30 
  • State Government: Conversion to Organics Could Increase Food Prices, Shrink Farm Profits
  • Federal Government: Biden to Support President Biden's Reelection, Says He Won't Run in 2024
  • Business Member Spotlight: Greengate Ranch and Vineyard
  • Ag Economics: End of Cheap Money for U.S. Farmers Plows Trouble into Food Production
  • USDA: FSA Emergency Relief Program Deadline on Dec. 16
  • Featured Member Benefit: Dungarees
  • Environmental: California Looks to Ban All Diesel Trucks
  • Produce: DPR Updating Rules Related to 1,3-D Exposure
  • Labor: Lawmakers Look to Overhaul Farmworkers Visa Before GOP Takeover
  • Livestock: Solar Company's Conservation Deal Troubles Kern Ranchers
  • Vineyard & Wine: This Paso Robles Wine is One of Wine Spectator's Top 20 Picks for 2022
  • Water: California Drought Costly to Growers, Jobs as Farmland Shrinks. New Study Shows How Much

November 21 Most-Read

1.   Report: California on its way to banning rodeos?

2. California’s first groundwater rules rub against SGMA

3.Public sounds off on Watsonville pesticide notification pilot program

4. CCA Sorting Pen Podcast Episode 23: Sorting through thanking our veterans

5. Another California desalination plant approved — the most contentious one yet

6. The Pirate, the Mailman and the Avocado: The Accidental History of Avocados in California

7.  SLO city signals interest in selling recycled water to Edna Valley

8.  Bill would impose water tax on exported crops

9.  State strengthens use restrictions of pesticide 1,3-D to protect public health

10.  California Assembly announces leadership change for 2023

Executive Director Report

Here are a few things we worked on this week:

  • Farm Bureau member Steven Easterby and staff participated in a Central Coast Caucus meeting with other county farm bureaus to discuss policy resolutions to be voted on at the upcoming California Farm Bureau Annual Meeting’s House of Delegates;
  • Did an interview with Washington Post reporter about labor challenges in the local agriculture industry;
  • Held a SLO County Farm Bureau Board of Directors meeting;
  • Made a donation to the Food Bank as part of the annual Hugh Pitts Memorial Turkey Donation; and
  • Continued working on outreach on the proposed Paso Basin Planting Ordinance.

Hugh Pitts Memorial Turkey Donation Raises $6,000 for Food Bank of SLO County

Thank you to Farm Bureau members and our local community who helped us raise $6,000 and 4,383 pounds of fresh produce from Pismo-Oceano Vegetable Exchange in memory of our longtime Farm Bureau board member Hugh Pitts.

Calendar- Upcoming Events:

  • Nov. 29-30: SLO County Department of Agriculture Offers Private Applicator Certificate Training and Exams
  • Dec. 3: Farm Bureau Women Furniture Yard Sale- 5385 Monterey St, 9am-3pm
  • Dec 5-6: Office closed for California Farm Bureau Annual Meeting
  • Dec. 10: Young Farmers and Ranchers Holiday Party, 4:30pm at Farm Bureau Office
  • Dec. 17: Adelaida Farm Center Meeting
  • Dec. 23-Jan. 2: Office Closed- Holiday Break

Community: San Luis Obispo County's Kiah Twisselman Burchett Named Among Cowgirl Magazine's 2023 'Top 30 Under 30'

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Farm Bureau Women Yard Sale - Furniture Only - December 3rd

San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau Women are having a yard sale with only furniture on Saturday, December 3  from 9:00am - 3:00pm at

5385 Monterey Rd, Paso Robles.

Proceeds from the sale support Farm Bureau Women's work to provide college scholarships to local youth. If you have furniture you would like to donate, please call Jeanne Myers at 805-312-0865 or email r4mranch@aol.com .

San Luis Obispo County's Kiah Twisselman Burchett Named Among Cowgirl Magazine's 2023 'Top 30 Under 30'

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Darrell Twisselman Obituary - Twisselman Ranch

September 4, 1932 - October 23, 2022 Darrell Louis Twisselman passed away at the age of 90 on October 23, 2022 in Bakersfield, California surrounded by family, including his wife of 69 years, Nola C. Twisselman. Darrell was born to Dorothy and Carl Twisselman on September 4, 1932 in Paso Robles, California.

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Avenales Ranch Hiring Ranch Manager

Young Farmers and Ranchers Holiday Party- Saturday, December 10

Local Government: SLO County Department of Agriculture Offers Private Applicator Certificate Training and Exams November 29-30 

Election Update Shows Tight Race for District 2 Supervisor Seat

SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY - It is now a close race for the District 2 Supervisor seat in San Luis Obispo County. In the San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder Office's recent General Election vote count, candidate Bruce Jones is only 37 votes behind incumbent Bruce Gibson.

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SLO County Department of Agriculture Offers Private Applicator Certificate Training and Exams November 29-30 

  • Tuesday, November 29th & Wednesday, November 30th 2022
  • SLO Vet's Hall - 801 Grand Ave, San Luis Obispo 
  • Presentations in English and Spanish 8:00 am - 9:00 am 
  • Exam 9:00 am - 12:00 pm 
  • Register here 
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State Government: Conversion to Organics Could Increase Food Prices, Shrink Farm Profits

Remember that budget surplus? Never mind

Six months ago, while proposing a revised state budget, Gov. Gavin Newsom bragged about the state's having a $97.5 billion surplus that would finance some landmark expansions of social and educational services.

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Local congressman, White House announce $1 billion in funds for Diablo Canyon

Conditional award creates path for nuclear power plant to remain open - On Monday, Congressman Salud Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara) and the White House, through the [...]

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Conversion to Organics Could Increase Food Prices, Shrink Farm Profits

A European Union policy goal to exponentially increase organic farming to 30% of all agricultural production by 2030 is expected to be considered by Gov. Gavin Newsom for next year’s budget. However, a new economic analysis says such a plan would dramatically increase the price of food for many consumers and jeopardize the solvency of organic farms.

California currently has an estimated 7.35 million acres of irrigated cropland, of which 460,000 acres—or 6%—is certified as organic and not all of that is farmed in any given year.

A preliminary analysis by ERA Economics, a Davis-based consultancy specializing in the economics of agriculture and water resources in California, focused on the potential challenges of applying the EU standards to one California crop: tomatoes. The state produces 95% of America’s processing tomatoes and the total annual tomato crop is valued at $1.2 billion.

Only 5% of California’s 228,000 processing tomato acreage is currently needed to meet consumer demand for organic. The study found that reaching 30% organic production by 2030 would cause substantial disruptions to the market. The farmgate price of conventional tomatoes was estimated to rise by more than 11%. And, importantly, the price for organic tomatoes was estimated to fall by 28% at the farmgate level—potentially putting the market price below the cost of production.

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Study outlines the perils of Newsom's push for organic farming

A new study finds that rapidly converting 30% of California agriculture to organic practices would dramatically increase food prices and shrink farm profits for the specialty market.

The California Farm Bureau commissioned the study to examine the European Union's goal of converting 30% of agriculture to organic by 2030, which the Newsom administration has been closely eyeing.

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Federal Government: Biden to Support President Biden's Reelection, Says He Won't Run in 2024

California Farm Bureau's Federal Policy News-

November 23, 2022

  • Happy Thanksgiving from the Federal Policy Team
  • Potential Rail Strike Would Have Major Economic Impacts
  • Title 42 Set to End in December
  • Eight House Members Honored with “Friend of Farm Bureau” Awards

Newsom said he told Biden he won't run for the White House in 2024 and will support the president's expected reelection bid: 'I'm all in, count me in'

Gavin Newsom told President Biden he was backing his expected 2024 reelection campaign. "He not only beat Trump once, I think he can beat him again," the California governor said of Biden. Newsom told Politico's Jonathan Martin that he "told everyone in the White House" of his decision. Gov.

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Weekly Agriculture- Politico

Whole Foods paused procuring lobster caught in the Gulf of Maine. It's after a pair of seafood sustainability watchdogs said the fishery poses a threat to the right whale population.

- ICYMI: Regenerative agriculture has been picking up steam in the lead-up to the farm bill, and proponents say it will save farmers money.

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Business Member Spotlight:

Greengate Ranch and Vineyard

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Located in the heart of Edna Valley Wine Country on California’s Central Coast, Greengate Ranch & Vineyard is 140 acres, combining recreation areas and lush rolling hills of world acclaimed vineyards. Once a working horse ranch, our property features four incredible vacation rental homes with 13 bedrooms, horse stables, a vintage wood barn, courtyard and multiple grand lawns offering an uncommon venue for recreation, retreat, and celebration. The Pool & Spa Arena recreational area completes our guest amenities and event offerings.

If you’re newly engaged and searching for a one of a kind venue for your destination wedding weekend, we’d love to share our slice of goodness with you. If you’re a traveler looking for a unique experience that includes luxurious accommodations while you partake of the Central Coast lifestyle for a few days, we welcome you. If you’re a corporate executive trying to find an authentic change of pace for your team gathering in the way of a corporate retreat, we're excited you found us!


PHONE: 1-805-459-9863

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Ag Economics: End of Cheap Money for U.S. Farmers Plows Trouble into Food Production

End of Cheap Money for U.S. Farmers Plows Trouble into Food Production

Everything Degn needs to farm is more expensive - and for the first time in her five-year career, so is the interest rate on the short-term debt she and nearly every other U.S. farmer relies upon to grow their crops and raise their livestock.

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A rail strike looms and impact on US economy could be broad

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - American consumers and nearly every industry will be affected if freight trains grind to a halt next month. One of the biggest rail unions rejected its deal Monday , joining three others that have failed to approve contracts over concerns about demanding schedules and the lack of paid sick time .

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USDA: FSA Emergency Relief Program Deadline on Dec. 16

Emergency Relief Program

Producers who are eligible for assistance through ERP Phase One have until Friday, Dec. 16, 2022, to contact FSA at their local USDA Service Center to receive program benefits.

To help agricultural producers offset the impacts of natural disasters in 2020 and 2021, Congress included emergency relief funding in the Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act (P.L. 117-43). This law targets at least $750 million for livestock producers impacted by drought or wildfires.

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Pandemic Assistance Revenue Program

PARP will use revenue information that is readily available from most tax records. FSA encourages producers to have their tax documents from the past few years and supporting materials ready. Producers will need similar documentation to what was needed for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program Phase Two, where USDA allowed a producer to use 2018 or 2019 as the benchmark year relative to the disaster year.

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Thank You Farm Bureau Members

Renewing Agricultural Members

Craig Sunada, Dale Guerra, Herbert Filipponi, and Holger Andersen

Renewing Associate Members

Henry Friesen

SLO County Farm Bureau Business Support Member List

Featured Member Benefit:


Dungarees carries a massive inventory of premium men’s and women’s work wear brands, including one of the largest selections of Carhartt in the nation.

As a California Farm Bureau member, you receive:

  • 10% discount on orders under $200
  • 15% discount on orders over $200
  • 20% discount on orders over $500
  • Free shipping on all orders over $55 (contiguous U.S. only)

Featured brands include Carhartt, CAT, Wolverine and YETI.

It’s another great benefit of your Farm Bureau membership.

Visit dungarees.com to start shopping. Enter the discount code on the last page of checkout to receive your discount.

Call 1-800-698-3276 or your local county Farm Bureau to get the discount code.

Environmental: California Looks to Ban All Diesel Trucks

California Looks to Ban All Diesel Trucks

A controversial new proposal to ban diesel-powered trucks in California has sparked a divisive debate among the trucking industry, the state and environmentalists. The California Air Resources Board has laid out an ambitious plan to eventually force all diesel truck fleets off the road, with varying timelines.

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U.S. grants $1.1 bln to keep Diablo Canyon nuclear plant open

WASHINGTON, Nov 21 (Reuters) - The Biden administration said on Monday it has approved conditional funding of up to $1.1 billion to prevent the closure of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in California, as part of its effort to fight climate change.

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Climate Change and Drought Could Drive More Indoor Farming

The sea of greenhouses sat in manicured rows in Half Moon Bay's Rocket Farms, as if someone took a model and reproduced dozens of exact versions of the same glass building.

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Produce: DPR Updating Rules Related to 1,3-D Exposure

Western Growers debuts 'Real Farmers Care' video for Thanksgiving

PUBLISHED ON IRVINE, Calif. - Western Growers is debuting a documentary short video online for Thanksgiving that demonstrates the care California farmers put into growing the food that will be consumed this holiday season.

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Asian Citrus Psyllid Study: Vigilance Urged but 'No Cause for Panic'

By Mike Hsu, UCANR Preliminary results indicate 3.5% of ACP collected showed signs of bacterium that can cause huanglongbing An ongoing study in the commercial citrus groves of coastal Southern California is looking at whether Asian citrus psyllids - the insect vector of huanglongbing "citrus greening" disease - are carrying the bacterium that can cause HLB.

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DPR Updating Rules Related to 1,3-D Exposure

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) has introduced proposed regulations related to 1,3- dichloropropene (1,3-D). DPR Director, Julie Henderson said that the action is meant to lower the risk of 1,3-D exposure. The material is used to address a variety of soil-borne pests in agriculture, particularly nematodes.

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Labor: Lawmakers Look to Overhaul Farmworkers Visa before GOP Takeover

December 16, 10 AM: (FREE Webinar) SB 1162: New Pay Transparency Requirements for California Employers: SB 1162 (Limon) will add new reporting burdens for California employers in the name of gender equality. What will you need to do to comply? Catherine Houlihan of FELS Group Legal Services Program partner firm Barsamian & Moody will explain. 

When: Friday, December 16, 10 AM by Zoom

Register Here: https://cfbf.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZArdOqgqTouEtJ-bY13LC2jrU0O2YzBaUGT 

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Farm Labor Contractor 9-Hour Continuing Education Seminars (DLSE Approved)

CFLCA provides required and up to date compliance and best practices information through our FLC 9-Hour programs. Online and in-person CFLCA programs are approved by the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) to fulfill the requirement of nine hours of continuing education for FLC licensing and annual renewal.

Training includes:

Interactive instruction in small, intimate classes by recognized industry experts.

-Certificate of attendance; Credits reported for FLCs licensing to DLSE within one working day; Access to over 300 pertinent document resources.

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Lawmakers look to overhaul farmworkers visa before GOP takeover

CBS Miami MIAMI -- "Lawmakers, agriculture groups and farmworker organizations are pushing to pass an overhaul of the farmworker visa program through both chambers of Congress before the GOP takes control of the House next year," the Wall Street Journal reported this week.

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Livestock: Solar Company's Conservation Deal Troubles Kern Ranchers

Solar company's conservation deal troubles Kern ranchers

A novel but somewhat contentious agreement announced Wednesday is designed to allow four utility-scale solar farms to be built in eastern Kern County by ending grazing on a separate swath of federal property measuring 215,000 acres.

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Poultry Federation says California loses 300,000 turkeys in just 2 months

Turkey supply is so low and prices are increasing because of the record-number of bird flu cases. More than 50 million birds are affected according to the CDC.

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Vineyard & Wine: This Paso Robles Wine is One of Wine Spectator's Top 20 Picks for 2022

SIP Certified Webinar: Chapter 14 Calculations & Pittfalls- Dec. 1

Calculating the amount of water and Nitrogen applied to a vineyard is important for tracking inputs and improving efficiency.

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This Paso Robles wine is one of Wine Spectator's top 20 picks for 2022

A wine is poured for tasting at the Paso Robles Wine Festival in 2017. Beautiful Earth red blend from McPrice Myers in Paso Robles is one of the Top 100 Wines of 2022, according to Wine Spectator magazine. ldickinson@thetribunenews.com Looking for a stellar wine for Thanksgiving dinner?

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Water: California Drought Costly to Growers, Jobs as Farmland Shrinks. New Study Shows How Much

California drought costly to growers, jobs as farmland shrinks. New study shows how much

As California prepares for a fourth consecutive year of drought and farmland across the Golden State increasingly goes idle, growers continue to face mounting economic challenges. In a new report about the financial toll of the state's extreme drought conditions, researchers estimated that the state's irrigated farmland dropped by 752,000 acres, or nearly 10%, from 2019 to 2022.

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Coastal Commission approves Cal Am's desal plant in Marina, but many hurdles remain.

After more than a decade in the trying, a major desalination plant to serve the Monterey Peninsula has cleared a significant hurdle-in theory, at least. In a 13-hour meeting that adjourned just after 10pm on Thursday, Nov.

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As California droughts intensify, ecosystems and rural communities will bear the brunt

Drought, human-caused climate change, invasive species and a "legacy" of environmental issues are permanently altering California's landscape and placing some communities and ecosystems at increasing risk, a panel of experts told water officials recently. Invasive species and decades of disruptions from massive land and water developments are partly responsible for a continuous decline in native California species, experts told the California Water Commission on Nov.

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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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