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San Luis Obispo County Agriculture News

September 11, 2023


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Today, on the 22nd anniversary of 9/11, we remember and honor those who lost their lives and the brave first responders and heroes. Their sacrifice will never be forgotten.

Western Growers: Unusually High Exotic Fruit Fly Season in California

September 7, 2023

By Jeana Cadby, Environment and Climate Director for Western Growers

California is experiencing an unusually high population of exotic fruit flies this season. The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has issued local quarantine and eradication measures to prevent statewide spread of the Tau Fly and the Oriental Fruit Fly. From the CDFA website:

“Exotic fruit flies are of concern to the agriculture industry in California. The larval (maggot) stage of fruit flies such as Mediterranean Fruit Fly, Mexican Fruit Fly and Oriental Fruit Fly can damage most of the fruits and vegetables grown in our state.”

CDFA and local County Agricultural Commissioners deploy and maintain over 63,000 detection traps statewide just for exotic fruit flies. High numbers of exotic fruit flies identified in traps have spurred preemptive efforts by CDFA to collaborate with USDA trapping specialists, a first for California.

Currently, there is no federal-level quarantine for the state. At the local level, active quarantine maps are available for the Tau Fly, which spans the Stevenson Ranch and Valencia areas in Los Angeles County, and the Oriental Fruit Fly, which spans the Brentwood and Santa Clara areas in Southern California. ...

Continue reading here. Photo of Tau Fly by Severyn Korneyev, courtesy of CDFA.

This Week In SLO County Agriculture

In This Week's Issue:

  • Community: Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Empowering AgTech Pioneers Showcasing North County AgTech Program and Incubator Startups 
  • Local Government: Paso Robles City Council Appoints John Hamon as New Mayor
  • State Government: Assembly Bill 363 Seeks to Ban Nonagricultural Uses of Neonicotinoid Pesticides
  • California Farm Bureau News: Need Continuing Education Hours? Sign Up for California Farm Bureau Extension
  • Federal Government: USDA Releases Insights on Farm Income Forecast
  • Business Member Spotlight: Diamond West Farming, Inc.
  • Produce: UCANR Offering California Farm Bureau Members Discount to FIRA USA Robotics and Automation Ag Tech Conference
  • Featured Member Benefit: A4 Promotions & Incentives
  • Labor: Increase in Ag Fatalities and Injuries Highlights Need for Training
  • Wildfire: California Wants to Avoid Becoming the Florida of Disaster Insurance
  • Livestock: Economic Impact Study Shows Livestock Auctions Growing in Importance for Rural Vitality
  • Vineyard and Wine: IGGPRA Harvest Hoedown Will Take Place Sept. 23- Tickets Now On Sale!
  • Water: New Database Helps Californians Understand Proposed Groundwater Plans Under SGMA 

September 5 Most-Read

1. How to Control California Ground Squirrels & Gophers Free Workshop- Sept. 29

2. A simple vineyard strategy cuts water usage by one-third

3. Holloway Agriculture campaign to enhance road safety for harvest workers

4. The grand jury is in, and the Paso basin is still in trouble

5. "It's not going to be an easy one": Central Coast vineyards to see late harvest after winter storms

6. SLO County CattleWomen to Host their Second-Annual Polenta Dinner on Oct. 7

7. City of Paso Robles hosting community celebration in honor of late Mayor Steve Martin on Sept. 27

8. New WOTUS Rule Still Unfair to Farmers

9. New avocado proves tasty, safer to harvest at UC ANR Research and Extension Centers

10. America Is Using Up Its Groundwater Like There’s No Tomorrow

Executive Director Report

Here are a few things we worked on this week:

  • Reviewed the September 7 Paso Basin Cooperative Committee meeting agenda
  • Board Member Steve Carter represented Farm Bureau on the SLO County Water Resources Advisory Committee meeting
  • Reviewed the September 12 SLO County Board of Supervisors meeting agenda
  • Worked with a rancher on emergency creek clean-up resources
  • Reviewed the State Water Board's September 8 Revised Proposed Order on the Central Coast Regional Water Board's Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program (the State Water Board is scheduled to discuss the Order on September 20, 2023)
  • Met with California Farm Bureau and Central Coast-area county farm bureau staff to discussion water issues at the state, regional and local level

Calendar- Upcoming Events & Deadlines:

  • September 18 - Deadline to apply for USDA FSA's Emergency Loan Program
  • September 23 - Young Farmers and Ranchers Meet-Up at Paso Robles Barrelhouse Oktoberfest from 2-7pm- Purchase your tickets here.
  • September 26 - SLO County Farm Bureau Board Meeting at 5pm (4875 Morabito Place SLO; All members welcome, please RSVP to office at 805-543-3654)
  • October 3 - In-Person Hazardous Ag Materials Training - English 9-11am, Spanish 1-2:30pm (Free for Farm Bureau Members! Register here.
  • October 10 - SLO County Great AGventure at Paso Robles Event Center (Email SLO County Ag Education Committee Exec. Dir. Kim Bradley for more info at kimberlybrad5@gmail.com)
  • October 13 - Deadline to apply for the USDA FSA's Emergency Conservation Program for January, February and March 2023 storm damages in SLO County
  • October 14 - Young Farmers and Ranchers to participate in Paso Robles Pioneer Day Parade; Meet at 8:30am to decorate float
  • October 24 - SLO County Farm Bureau Annual Meeting (details coming soon)

Community: Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Empowering AgTech Pioneers Showcasing North County AgTech Program and Incubator Startups 

Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Empowering AgTech Pioneers

Showcasing North County AgTech Program and Incubator Startups 

San Luis Obispo, Calif. (September 7, 2023) - The Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) is excited to host a dynamic showcase event; Harvesting Innovation: Empowering AgTech Pioneers. This in-person event includes updates from local community leaders, a panel of Ag-Tech startups, and CIE Incubator experts who will share insights and drive discussions on the future of agriculture on the Central Coast. The event will take place on September 28th from 8:30 -10 a.m. at THE SANDBOX Paso Robles. RSVP for free on Eventbrite at harvestinginnovation.eventbrite.com 

The CIE Incubator program is a two-year program that includes everything needed for early-stage companies to develop into financially stable, high-growth enterprises by providing the tools, training and infrastructure that help facilitate smarter, faster growth. The Incubator program focuses generally on tech and innovation and is now also offering specialty pathways dedicated to CleanTech, AgTech, MedTech and Aerospace. Startups are encouraged to apply year-round at bit.ly/cieincubator.

After opening the Ag-Tech Vertical in collaboration with the Cal Poly CIE Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in August 2021, the program currently hosts five active startups, three will present at this event providing updates on their experience within the program and the next steps as they continue to grow their ventures on the Central Coast.

  • AcreCloud is a startup maximizing efficiency on farms by providing farm management software tools to farmers and farm laborers.
  • TRIC Robotics is accelerating digital farming to deliver a more sustainable future by using chemical-free pest and disease control with ultraviolet light.
  • Zeste Farms; a startup growing crops in vertical layers, typically in a climate-controlled environment as a way to provide consumers maximum flavor and nutrition without the environmental effects of traditional farming. 

“The CIE Incubator is dedicated to fostering the launch and growth of tech startups throughout the region,” says Judy Mahan, CIE Senior Economic Development Director, “with the ultimate goal of diversifying our local economic portfolio and creating high-paying tech jobs. We are seeing significant traction in AgTech and are thrilled to be leading business development efforts to support that trend locally.”

Network with fellow Ag-Tech enthusiasts and business community members on September 28th from 8:30 -10 a.m. at THE SANDBOX Paso Robles, 1345 Park Street, Paso Robles, CA 93446. RSVP to this free, in-person event at harvestinginnovation.eventbrite.com.

To learn more about the CIE and this event visit CIE.CALPOLY.EDU.

San Luis Obispo County Cattlemen's Seeking Sponsors for 2023 Cattlemen's Playday

Free Western Growers Women Relaunch Event- Oct. 6 in Orcutt

We are excited to announce the relaunch of the WGW Program in the Fall of 2023. Join us October 6, 2023 to discover the latest courses, gain insights from our esteemed panelists, including program graduates and inspiring women leaders. Following the panels, we will embark on a captivating farm tour in the stunning central coast. Don't miss out on this incredible opportunity!

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SLO County Farm Bureau Members Paul Crout Takes New Role at Helena Agri-Enterprises

Paul Crout is the new AGRIntelligence, agronomy, and organics manager at Helena Agri-Enterprises. He has been with the company for the last five years and most recently was the senior product manager and agronomist in Templeton, Calif. Crout currently serves as the chairman of CAPCA. Read more with an Agri-Pulse Subscription here.

The North American Truffle Growers Association (NATGA) will hold their 2023 Congress in Paso Robles, California, on October 8 - 10 at the Allegretto Vineyard Resort. This emerging industry complements the wine industry and has a proven track record of discovering truffles here in Paso Robles. The three-day event includes grower break-out sessions and an orchard tour with wine and truffle pairings at Caelesta Vineyard & Truffiere. The event will close on Tuesday, October 10 with a Grand Finale Truffle Dinner prepared by Allegretto’s Executive Chef. 

Sponsorship opportunities are available at many levels between $1,000 - $2,500. Please contact Kylee Corliss to sign-up for sponsorship. Congress Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased here. For more information on the North American Truffle Growers Association, please visit the website at www.trufflegrowers.com.

Local Government: Paso Robles City Council Appoints John Hamon as New Mayor

SLO County Board of Supervisors Meets Tuesday September 12

The upcoming meeting's agenda can be found here and additional item documents here. To view the meeting live, click here.

Items of interest to agriculture:

  • 6 - Submittal of a resolution setting the FY 2023/24 tax rates for the San Luis Obispo County Secured Property Tax Roll.
  • 32 - Request that the Board consider amending the San Luis Obispo County 2023 State Legislative Platform.
  • 34 - Overview of options for creating an independent redistricting commission.

Update: Paso Robles City Council appoints John Hamon as new mayor

Update posted Sept. 8, 6 a.m.: - After the passing of Paso Robles Mayor Steve Martin, the city council convened a special meeting last night [...]

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Construction efforts to begin on storm-damaged Arroyo Grande Creek

Efforts are in place to repair the Arroyo Grande Creek levee after it was damaged by the series of heavy rains this past winter.

Read More

State Government: Assembly Bill 363 Seeks to Ban Nonagricultural Uses of Neonicotinoid Pesticides

California Farm Bureau's Farm Bureau at Work - State Government Affairs Weekly Update- September 8, 2023


AB-363 authored by Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D-Orinda) having to with the reevaluation of neonicotinoids for nonagricultural uses was substantially amended recently. The bill now would ban the outdoor consumer use of neonics by January, 1 2025 which effectively eliminates the scientific process of DPR. This legislation will also expand for review beyond the non-agricultural uses targeted under the previous bill. Farm Bureau and other organizations were not contacted by the author or DPR to seek input on these changes so we will oppose until we have sufficient amendments or the bill is held in the legislature.

Agricultural Employment Policy

The Assembly passed SB-143 (Committee on the Budget), the 2023 budget trailer bill on various matters related to state government on September 8 on a 61-0 vote. SB-143 includes language supported by the Newsom Administration allowing employers of goatherders (which are increasingly employed to control wildfire fuel) to pay employees a minimum monthly salary and calculate and pay overtime and double-time premiums on the same basis as employers of sheepherders. For employers of 25 or more employees, the minimum monthly salary is $2577.48 plus $1772.85 in required overtime pay, for total monthly compensation of $4528.33 – or $54,339 per year. Since nearly all (if not all) such goatherders are admitted to work in the U.S. under the H-2A temporary agricultural visa program, employers are also required to furnish housing, food, and cell phone service at no cost. A provision in a 2022 budget trailer bill established consistent treatment of sheep and goatherders through January 1, 2023; language in SB-143 extends it to July 1, 2026 and directs the Employment Development Department to consult with stakeholders including employers and employees on compliance with applicable wage and hour standards and provisions in the Labor Code particular to sheepherders and goatherders and report back to the Legislature. Floor action is expected in both houses before the end of the session on September 14; farmworker advocates remain opposed. Farm Bureau supports.

Insurance looms as California Legislature nears end of session

There are just a few days remaining in the 2023 session of the California Legislature and it has nearly 1,000 bills still to process.

Read More

Rural land grab in Solano County prompts hearing

Alarmed by a company that they say has been operating in the shadows buying large swaths of farmland in Solano County, farmers and their advocates say the state should bolster its toolbox to protect agricultural resources and open space.

Read More

California Farm Bureau News: Need Continuing Education Hours? Sign Up for California Farm Bureau Extension

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Time is Running Out! Enter This Year’s Photo Contest Before September 30!

First Place Winner - $1,000 Second Place Winner - $500 Third Place Winner - $250 Fourth Place Winner - $100 Six Honorable Mentions - $50 each (age 13 years or younger) First Place Winner - $250 Second Place Winner - $100 The contest is open to amateur photographers who are Farm Bureau members.

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Federal Government: USDA Releases Insights on Farm Income Forecast

This Week in California Farm Bureau's Federal Policy News

September 7, 2023

  • Congress Returns from Recess but Deadlines Approach Quickly
  • Agencies Release Revised WOTUS Rule 
  • USFWS Issues Final Rule on Foothill Yellow-Legged Frog
  • CAFB Submits Comments on USFWS & NMFS Proposed ESA Regulatory Changes
  • CAFB Board Member Testifies Before House Natural Resources Committee 
  • FMMO Hearings Underway with USDA
  • Fair Access to Agricultural Disaster Programs Act Introduced in Senate
  • House Ag Labor Taskforce Grower Survey Portal
  • USDA Updates Livestock Indemnity Program
  • Nominations for Precision Ag Task Force Now Open
  • USDA Awards Specialty Crop Block Grants to CA Groups

USDA ERS - Highlights from the Farm Income Forecast

Net farm income, a broad measure of profits, is forecast to decrease by $41.7 billion (22.8 percent) from 2022 to $141.3 billion in 2023. Net cash farm income is forecast to decrease by $53.6 billion (26.5 percent) to $148.6 billion in 2023. Median farm household income is forecast to increase 2.5 percent to $98,148 in 2023.

Read More

Some Watching Trade Programs as Farm Bill Deadline Looms -

The deadline is here. The current farm bill expires at the end of this month, and lawmakers don't seem close to passing a new one. There ......

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EPA Fails the Test on WOTUS, Again

Farmers and ranchers have been left guessing as regulations bounce back and forth. If the EPA had listened to farmers, they could have finally brought certainty and achieved a clear, permanent WOTUS rule.

Read More
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Business Member Spotlight:

Diamond West Farming, Inc.

Farmers Helping Farmers


We've got all your leasing needs covered.


“We’ve got all your leasing needs covered: from start to finish. Don’t hesitate contact us to see how we can help. We enjoy helping farmers improve their properties and farming practices. We even offer a complimentary estimate and will come to your establishment! “


Established Vineyard & Orchard Properties / Short or Long Term Leases / Professionally Farmed / Lease With Purchase Options / Excellent Lease Returns


PHONE: 559-970-0125

Produce: UCANR Offering California Farm Bureau Members Discount to FIRA USA Robotics and Automation Ag Tech Conference

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UCANR would like to offer California Farm Bureau members a discount code for the upcoming FIRA USA Robotics and Automation Ag Tech conference in Salinas from September 19 - 21.


To access the discount, visit the registration Select tickets | FIRA USA 2023 | Humanitix.

Choose "Grower 3 day pass" and use the following promo code:

FIRAUSA2023GROWERS, which provides a 3-day pass for $299.

Buy your tickets here!  

FDA and Stop Foodborne Illness to Co-Host Webinar on Facing Food Safety Challenges

The U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the eighth in the ongoing series of webinars exploring food safety culture taking place on September 13, 2023, from 12 noon to 1:00 pm ET. The webinar series Collaborating on Culture in the New Era of Smarter Food Safety is in partnership with Stop Foodborne Illness, a non-profit public health organization.

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New Research Shows Promise for Mitigating HLB

Researchers at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) may have found a promising solution to combat Huanglongbing (HLB)...

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Scientists Unlocking Fresh Secrets To Longer Shelf Life for Produce

Recently published study places researchers closer to ensuring your fruits and vegetables arrive as fresh as possible at the grocery store.

Read More

The Farm Bill is Important for Specialty Crop Growers

Advocating for the farm bill, especially for items such as specialty crop programs, is not just a matter of policy, but an endeavor that supports and secures our nation's food supply, the economy and the sustainable practice we continue to strive towards.

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Thank You Farm Bureau Members

New Agricultural Platinum Member

Talley Farms and Talley Vineyards

Renewing Agricultural Business Members

Negranti-Higgins & Co CPA and Negranti Construction

Renewing Agricultural Members

Roy Garcia, Green Valley Cattle Company, Dana Goodwin, Troy Javadi, John Swift, Suey Ranch, Karl Wittstrom, Steven Twisselman, James Miller, John Philbrick, Gary Duncan, Larry Fiscalini, Avenales Cattle Co, Sandy Ahearn, White Ranch Co, Lauren Duhalde, Clyde Warren, George Kendall, John Porter, John Maino, Donna Mehlschau, Michael Cavaletto, Leslie Pitts, James Spreafico, John Linn, Velma Marsalek, John Hayashi, James Smith, Charles Whitney, Blythe 1994 Revocable Trust, Tony Lewis, Dewayne Rowlett, Floyd Butterfield, James Brabeck,and Carroll Lauridsen

Renewing Associate Members

Edward Crye, Randy Kendall, and Steven Sweet

SLO County Farm Bureau Business Support Member List

Featured Member Benefit:

A4 Promotions & Incentives

Brand your business or showcase your Farm Bureau pride with A4 Promotions & Incentives. Members can receive up to a 20% discount on select customizable items. For more information or to place an order call (916) 361-3682

Labor: Increase in Ag Fatalities and Injuries Highlights Need for Training

Increase in Ag Fatalities and Injuries Highlights Need for Training

Last year saw a roughly 40% increase in the number of reported cases nationwide involving agricultural confined spaces, according to a report recently released by the Purdue University Agricultural Safety and Health Program.

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California Farm Labor Contractor Association - Ag Labor Forum

The 13th annual Ag Labor Forum is coming to the central coast for 2023! The forum provides vital resources and crucial updated information to help employers, managers, HR, and other key team members understand the critical regulatory requirements and challenges facing our industry. Attend English and Spanish sessions, learn from industry experts, and network with old and new friends alike. Develop the necessary knowledge, skills, and tools to keep your operation secure, safe, and compliant. See you in November!

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Wildfire: California Wants to Avoid Becoming the Florida of Disaster Insurance

California's wildfire smoke and climate change: 4 things to know

California wildfires every year emit as much carbon as almost 2 million cars, posing a threat to efforts to battle climate change.

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California Wants to Avoid Becoming the Florida of Disaster Insurance

State officials trying to figure out how to stem the exodus of property insurers from wildfire-prone areas are looking with trepidation at hurricane-ravaged Florida.

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Livestock: Economic Impact Study Shows Livestock Auctions Growing in Importance for Rural Vitality

Bird Flu Is Undergoing Changes That Could Increase the Risk of Widespread Human Transmission

NOTTINGHAM, England -- A new study from researchers in China and Nottingham has discovered that a subtype of avian flu virus, endemic in poultry farms...

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Economic Impact Study Shows Livestock Auctions Growing in Importance for Rural Vitality - California Ag Network

A 2023 economic impact study, which updated a study from 2017, found that livestock auction markets continue to be important for the growth and vitality of rural communities. The study of an average, fixed-facility livestock auction market revealed that the market provides approximately $2 million in total value-added dollars to its local community.

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Vineyard and Wine: IGGPRA Harvest Hoedown Will Take Place Sept. 23- Tickets Now On Sale!

NASA technology can spot wine grape disease from the sky. The world's food supply could benefit

High-tech aerial imaging from NASA can provide early detection of a crop-destroying virus in vineyards, research found. It could have implications for crops worldwide.

Read More

New Grapevine Insurance Program Available

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced an expansion of crop insurance options with the introduction of the Grapevine insurance...

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Independent Grape Growers of Paso Robles Area's Harvest Hoedown is Sept. 23

Let's Celebrate! It's time to harvest and then, we celebrate! Please join us for our annual Harvest Hoedown on Saturday, September 23, 2023 at the Loading Chute in Creston. We'll have live music (with The Rockin’ Bs Band), great BBQ tri-tip and chicken, a Wine Walk, a baking contest for pies and cakes, and, of course, lots of wine and fun with friends!

  • When: Saturday, September 23rd, 2023
  • Time: 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
  • Where: The Loading Chute, 6350 Webster Rd., Creston

Cost: $35 for Members until September 16th, then $40 per person for Members; limit 2 tickets per Membership

(Guests of IGGPRA Members - $45 until September 16th, then $50 per person)


Water: New Database Helps Californians Understand Proposed Groundwater Plans Under SGMA 

Supervisor Arnold takes issue with Paso water basin grand jury report

Despite heavy rainfall in January and March of this year, the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin still faces sustainability issues and low groundwater levels. A recently...

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New Database Helps Californians Understand Proposed Groundwater Plans Under SGMA - California Ag Network

To achieve groundwater sustainability under California's Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, or SGMA, demand management - policies that encourage water conservation - will be necessary, says Ellen Bruno, University of California Cooperative Extension specialist in quantitative policy analysis at UC Berkeley. A key feature of the state's approach to SGMA is that local groundwater sustainability agencies can develop their ...

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DWR Commentary: Why Modernizing Infrastructure Will Benefit Our Future Water Supply

From the Department of Water Resources: The State Water Project (SWP) moves life-sustaining water across the state for 27 million Californians and 750,000 acres of farmland. It supplies families, businesses, crops, and industries with safe and affordable water. Without modernization of our infrastructure, climate-driven weather extremes and seismic threats will affect how we can deliver...

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City of Paso Robles releases video about local water supply

The City of Paso Robles has produced a video to help inform residents about the local water supply. The video provides an overview of the city’s water sources and planning efforts and helps answer questions residents may have about having enough water to sustain planned community growth and demand.

Read More

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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